Rustom 1 test-flown

Rustom 1, a a medium-altitude and long-endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.  

Rustom 1, a medium-altitude and long-endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), developed by the Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), was successfully test-flown here on Saturday.

According to an official statement, Rustom 1 was flown from the Taneja Aerospace and Aviation airfield at Hosur near here. “The aircraft took off even in inclement weather conditions for a first flight, flew for 12 minutes and landed successfully, meeting all its objectives.”

Surveillance aircraft

A Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) spokesperson told The Hindu on Sunday that Rustom 1 followed the two other UAVs developed by the ADE — Lakshya and Nishant. While Lakshya — a drone that is remotely piloted by a ground control station — provides aerial sub-targets for live-fire training, Nishant is a surveillance aircraft primarily tasked with intelligence gathering over enemy territory.

“Unlike the other UAVs, which used to have a free fall with parachutes after executing their tasks, Rustom will carry out copybook style landing,” the spokesperson said.

“In the coming days Rustom can be used as unmanned combat aerial vehicle and also to carry war-heads,” the spokesperson said.

The first full flight of Rustom 1 on Saturday was under the command of Lt. Col. V.S. Thapa of the Army, an experienced External Pilot for UAVs, who was positioned at the edge of the runway. “He controlled it without any difficulty throughout its flight, which included the pilot-assisted take-off flight in air and a copybook style landing,” the statement said.

Many auto features

The aircraft has many auto features such as GPS controlled Way Point Navigation and Get U Home included even in its first flight, but will be exercised in subsequent flights.

“The UAV has an endurance of 12 to 15 hours and can carry payloads up to 75 kg. It has an altitude ceiling of 25,000 feet. Such flights of UAVs remove the risk to human pilots when they have to fly them in hazardous zones,” the statement said.

The data link system for this UAV was designed and developed by another DRDO laboratory called Defence Electronics Applications Laboratory (DEAL) situated in Dehra Dun. Its airframe is made by a private company called Zephyr situated in Coimbatore and most of its onboard systems are also manufactured by private industries in different parts of the country.

“This UAV can be used by all the three armed services of our country,” the statement added.

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Printable version | Sep 11, 2021 8:30:32 AM |

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