Indian DRDO indigenous stealth UCAV makes maiden flight


As reported by Ajai Shukla on ajaishukla.com, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully conducted the maiden flight of its “Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator” from the Aeronautical Test Range, Chitradurga, Karnataka on July 1: “Operating in a fully autonomous mode, the aircraft performed a perfect flight, including take-off, waypoint navigation and a smooth touchdown”, the DRDO announced in a press release.

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Indian DRDO indigenous stealth UCAV makes maiden flight The stealth Unmanned Combat Airborne Vehicle (UCAV), has been designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) (Picture source: DRDO)


The stealth Unmanned Combat Airborne Vehicle (UCAV), has been designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bengaluru, one of the DRDO’s premier avionics research laboratories. “[The aircraft] is powered by a small turbofan engine. The airframe, undercarriage and entire flight control and avionics systems used for the aircraft were developed indigenously,” stated the DRDO. “This flight marks a major milestone in terms of proving critical technologies towards the development of future unmanned aircraft and is a significant step towards self-reliance in such strategic defence technologies,” the DRDO added.

The UCAV is a precursor to the Ghatak armed stealth drone program called the Autonomous Unmanned Research Aircraft, or AURA, Ajai Shukla writes. The ADE has described the AURA as a self-defending, high-speed, reconnaissance UAV with a weapons firing capability.

This secretive weapon system came to public notice in 2010 when the DRDO acknowledged the existence of the “Indian Unmanned Strike Aircraft” (IUSA), a drone built of lightweight composite materials and capable of delivering laser-guided strike weapons. It has been decided that the Kaveri engine, developed by the DRDO’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) would power the AURA. The Kaveri was developed for powering the Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) but has not been able to develop the power needed for a supersonic fighter aircraft.


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