The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Friday successfully carried out the maiden test flight of a new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), an autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator, from the Aeronautical Test Range, Chitradurga, Karnataka.
“Operating in a fully autonomous mode, the aircraft exhibited a perfect flight, including take-off, way point navigation and a smooth touchdown,” DRDO said in a statement. “This flight marks a major milestone in terms of proving critical technologies towards the development of future unmanned aircraft and is significant step towards self-reliance in such strategic defence technologies.”
It is a reduced sized autonomous aircraft and is proving various technologies for autonomous aircraft to be built in future, a DRDO official explained.
The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is powered by a small turbofan engine. The airframe, undercarriage and entire flight control and avionics systems used for the aircraft were developed indigenously, DRDO said.
The engine is Russian TRDD-50MT originally designed for cruise missiles.
“A small turbo fan engine is being developed indigenously for meeting the requirement,” another official told The Hindu.
The UAV was designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bengaluru, a premier research laboratory of DRDO.
DRDO is in the process of developing UAVs of different classes to met the requirements of the armed forces. Rustom-2, the indigenous Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV under development, had crossed a milestone by reaching an altitude of 25,000 feet and an endurance of 10 hours in December 2021 and is being designed to reach an altitude of 30,000 feet and 18 hours endurance.
An Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle is also on the drawing board.