The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in India has conducted a flight test of its locally developed Rustom-2 unmanned air vehicle (UAV).

According to a Hindustan Times report, the medium-altitude long-endurance prototype drone flew for eight hours at an altitude of 16,000ft at Chitradurga in the state of Karnataka.

A senior official told the publication: “The Rustom-2 had one hour of fuel left after eight hours of test flying at Challakere aeronautical test range in Chitradurga district of Karnataka and had achieved the test flight ceiling.”

DRDO seeks to develop Rustom-2 drone to match the specifications of Israel’s Heron UAV, which is currently used by India’s Armed Forces.

By the end of this year, the prototype is expected to achieve endurance of around 20 hours and fly at around 26,000ft.

The drone system is designed to carry a variety of payloads to meet different mission requirements. It is also equipped with a satellite communication link to provide real-time data to improve situational awareness.

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The Rustom-2 drone will be inducted into the armed forces following further tests and trials.

Notably, the drone development programme was accelerated following the military standoff between India and China near Ladakh.

Meanwhile, India is also planning to equip the Heron fleet with air-to-surface missile and laser-guided bombs. Currently, discussions with Israeli Aerospace Industry (IAI) are underway.

Recently, India also tested the extended-range variant of BrahMos surface-to-surface supersonic cruise missile.