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July 4, 2022

DRDO’s autonomous aircraft successfully completes first flight

The uncrewed aerial vehicle operated in a completely autonomous mode.

The Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully conducted the maiden flight of the Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator.

The uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) took off from the Aeronautical Test Range located in the Chitradurga district, Karnataka.

According to the Ministry of Defence, the aircraft functioned in an entirely autonomous mode and displayed a ‘perfect’ take-off and way point navigation, and a smooth touchdown.

Designed by the DRDO research laboratory Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bengaluru, the UAV is powered by a turbofan engine.

The indigenously developed airframe, undercarriage, and the flight control and avionics systems of the aircraft are aimed at achieving self-reliance in defence technologies.

The latest flight is also a big step towards designing and developing future uncrewed aircraft.

Congratulating the DRDO, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted: “It is a major achievement towards autonomous aircraft which will pave the way for Aatmanirbhar Bharat in terms of critical military systems.”

In addition, Department of Defence R&D secretary and DRDO chairman Dr G Satheesh Reddy praised the teams involved in the design, development, and testing of the new system.

In August 2020, the DRDO identified 108 systems and subsystems for design and development to strengthen the indigenous defence ecosystem.

Under this, the DRDO planned to support the industries for the design, development, and testing of the systems based on the requirements.

This was taken up as part of the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative to make the country self-reliant.

Last month, the DRDO and the Indian Army successfully tested an all-indigenous, laser-guided, anti-tank guided missile (ATGM).

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