8 October 2010,
Hosur, Bangalore: India's ambitious unmanned aerial vehicle UAV programme received ...
8 October 2010,
Hosur, Bangalore: India's ambitious unmanned aerial vehicle UAV programme received a major boost when the second flight of the Rustom-1 technology demonstrator UAV was conducted successfully in Bangalore on Saturday. This follows a failed test last year November when faulty operation of the UAV demonstrator had resulted in a crash.
Bothe the tests were conducted at the Taneja Aerospace facility at Hosur near Bangalore. The flight of the second Rustom-1 prototype lasted 30 minutes.
The Rustom-1 is a technology feeder programme for the proposed Rustom-H medium altitude long endurance MALE UAV which is yet to fly. According to the Defence Research and Development Organisation DRDO, the Rustom-1 is a forerunner of the more advanced Rustom-H and an unmanned combat aerial vehicle UCAV.
The MALE UAV is being developed by a DRDO lab, the Aeronautical Development Establishment ADE, a premier DRDO lab specializing in UAVs and flight control systems. The DRDO said the demonstrator was flown in a manner exactly as planned, up to a height of 3000 ft and remained airborne for 30 minutes and completed all mission requirements. The demonstrator taxied, took off and landed using a runway at an air field owned by Taneja Aerospace, Bangalore, like a normal aircraft with the ground based pilot in full control monitoring every manoeuvre of the aircraft and auto mode remaining on.
Being the first full flight of the aircraft, it was under the command of Lt Col VS Thapa of the Indian Army, an experienced external pilot for UAVs. He controlled it without any difficulty throughout its flight which included pilot assisted takeoff, flight in air and a copy book style landing. Taxiing, take-off and landing are among the most challenging manoeuvres for a UAV and so their validation in this flight test may be considered a major achievement.
Rustom-1 is designed with an endurance capability of 12-15 hour, 25000 ft. altitude and 75 kg pay load. The data link for this aircraft has been developed by DEAL, another DRDO laboratory and the airframe has been built by Zephyr Aerospace, Coimbatore. Subsequent flights will test and demonstrate other capabilities such as way point navigation, altitude and endurance parameters, the systems for which have been already incorporated in the aircraft.
Media present on the occasion were briefed by Dr Prahlada, distinguished scientist and chief controller R&D aeronautics & services interaction, on the mission details. The flight was witnessed by Dr G Elangovan, distinguished scientist & CCR&D R&M, PS Krishnan, distinguished scientist & director ADE, G Natarajan, programme director, G Sreenivasamurthy, project director, and, Ajoy Raman, chairman FRR.
Rustom-H Though carrying the same name as a fearsome Persian warrior, the MALE UAV is actually named in honour of Rustom Damania, a former professor of Indian Institute of Science IISc, Bangalore, who led the National Aeronautical Laboratories' light canard research aircraft LCRA project in the 1980s.
The LCRA platform and R&D provides the initial thrust for DRDO ADE's eventual 1,100-1,800 kg Rustom-H design, which aims for a maximum altitude of 35-40,000 feet and a range of 300 km/ 250 miles. Being developed by the DRDO for the three defence services, the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force it will experience substantial structural and engine changes and will eventually replace/supplement the Israeli Heron/Searcher UAVs in service with the Indian armed forces.
Rustom has an overall wingspan of 20 metres and will be launched by the conventional method and not the launcher as in the case of the Lakshya and Nishant. Rustom will be able to peer into enemy territory up to a distance of 250km and carry a variety of sensors for surveillance activities.