Rustom-2 UCAV makes maiden flight
Bengaluru: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Wednesday successfully flight tested medium-altitude, long endurance (MALE) unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) Rustom-2 from its Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) in Challakere in Chitradurga district of Karnataka.
According to DRDO sources, the first flight lasted around 10 minutes.
“The take-off and landing were perfect. There were no surprises during the first flight. Rustom-2 will undertake similar flights in the next couple of days and we are now looking at its aerodynamic features while airborne,” a scientist linked to the project said.
Interestingly, DRDO officials are tight-lipped about the first flight. The pre-flight test activities were in progress at the ATR for the past few months.
The project is running behind the schedule and DRDO has a long way to go before Rustom-2 can be inducted into the services. Once the developmental tests are over, the UCAV will have to pass the critical user trials, clearing its possible entry into armed forces.
If the DRDO sticks to schedules, Rustom-2 might see its entry into Services by 2019.
DRDO said the flight accomplished the main objectives of proving the flying platform, such as take-off, bank, level flight and landing to name a few. Interestingly, DRDO for the first time has come up with a new name for Rustom-2 -- as TAPAS 201.
"The UAV is being developed to carry out the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) roles for the Services with an endurance of 24 hours. It is capable of carrying out different combinations of payloads like Medium Range Electro Optic (MREO), Long Range Electro Optic (LREO), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Electronic Intelligence (ELINT), Communication Intelligence (COMINT) and Situational Awareness Payloads (SAP) to perform missions during day and night," claims DRDO.