Indian DRDO conducts flight test of Abhyas high-speed expendable aerial target

As reported by Air Force Technology, the Indian Ministry of Defence announced a second successful flight test of the indigenously developed high-speed expendable aerial target (HEAT), called Abhyas, already tested in December 2021. The flight test was conducted at Integrated Test Range (ITR) off the coast of Odisha in Chandipur, India, on 29 June. Abhyas is designed and developed by India’s Defence Research & Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE).

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Indian DRDO conducts flight test of Abhyas high speed expendable aerial target The flight test of Abhyas on June 29 was conducted at Integrated Test Range off the coast of Odisha in Chandipur, India. (Picture source: Indian MoD/Government of India/Press Information Bureau)

For the test, the target drone was launched from a ground-based controller in a pre-designated flight path. It was launched with the help of twin under-slung boosters to provide initial acceleration to the vehicle. The aerial target is powered by a small gas turbine engine, which helps to maintain a long endurance flight at subsonic speeds. The target is also equipped with an indigenous radio altimeter for very low altitude flight, a flight control computer for guidance and control, as well as a micro-electromechanical systems-based inertial navigation system. Designed for fully autonomous flight, Abhyas also features a data link to allow encrypted communication between the Ground Control Station (GCS) and the target aircraft.

The Integrated Test Range (ITR) also deployed a range of tracking sensors such as an electro-optical targeting system and radar to monitor the flight path, Air Force Technology reports. This test demonstrated the aircraft’s performance at a low altitude, including sustained level and high manoeuvrability.

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