The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India has confirmed that the Rustom-II unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) would be ready for use by the armed forces from 2020.
Developed by the DRDO, the production of the Rustom-II drone is part of the country’s Rs15bn ($222.14m) UAV development project.
In February this year, the UAV was successfully tested at the Aeronautical Test Range at Chalakere in the Chitradurga district in Karnataka, India.
DRDO chairman S Chistopher was quoted by Express News Service, saying: “Rustom II has completed one test at Chitradurga in Karnataka.
“At present, the bird (basic UAV system) is being perfected. Attempts are also being made to increase the altitude. By the end of this year, we will be ready with the bird, after which the focus will be on the machine systems on it.”
Once built, the autonomous aircraft, also known as TAPAS-BH-201, will be used by all three armed services of the country, the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Chistopher told the Times of India: “With the help of production partners Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), our endeavour now is to deliver the drone by 2020.
“As of now, we are evaluating its endurance capacity, which is 24 hours with all types of payload.”
Designed on the lines of the predator drones of the US, the Rustom-II UAV is a medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft that can be deployed to carry out several intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations.
The Rustom-II UAV prototype can fly at a height of more than 22,000ft and has an approximately 20-hour flight time.
The first flight of the Rustom-I UAV was carried out on 16 November 2009 at the Taneja Aerospace Air Field near Hosur in Tamil Nadu.