Giving a big push to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India plan, a new version of an unmanned combat aerial vehicle successfully completed a test flight today. The Tapas 201 or Rustom-2 comes seven years after Rustom-1 and it is on par with US drones in its category.
After a considerable delay, Rustom-2 finally completed its first flight early on Wednesday in Challakere, about 200km from Bengaluru.
Here are some major key points which you should know about the made in India UCAV :
1. The UCAV, which is in the medium-altitude, long endurance (MALE) category of vehicles, is comparable to the American made Predator drone and can fly for 24 hours at stretch.
2. It can conduct sustained surveillance and can carry weapons along with surveillance equipment.
3. The application of drones is manifold – including reconnaissance, surveillance, intelligence gathering and aerial combat missions. What makes them indispensable is that they can conduct these tasks at a fraction of the cost of a manned aircraft and in case of a crash or malfunction, costs no lives.
4. For that operation, the military had to rely on imported drones, which had long endurance and a capacity to fly in high altitudes. But experts say in future, Rustom-2 will be able to carry out such missions.
5. The 2-tonne UAV, which has a wing span of 20 meters, was controlled by members of the armed forces.
6. It has been designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment – the Bangalore-based premier lab of Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO).
7. The Rustom-2 has been renamed Tapas 201. The Rustom-1, which flew for the first time in 2009, had been named after the late Rustom Damania, who helped develop the aircraft that had been used as a prototype.
8. It is also the first R&D prototype UAV, which has undergone certification and qualification for the first flight from the Center for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC) and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA).
9. It is capable to carry 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.
Many critical systems such as airframe, landing gear, flight control and avionics sub-systems are being developed in India with the collaboration of private industries.
Here’s the Rustom 2 taking it’s first flight :