Saturday, October 18, 2014

HAL, DRDO to Partner in Rustom UAV Project

Rustom-2 MALE UAV at DefExpo-2014

HAL will partner with DRDO in the Rustom-1 and Rustom-2 projects as part of HAL's new focus on UAVs DRDO Chief Chief Avinash Chander told Unmanned magazine in a recent interview.

Earlier in June, 2014, HAL Chief Dr. RK Tyagi announced in a press release that HAL will take-up more activities in Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) and Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) business segments.

DRDO Chief Avinash Chander gave the following additional insight into DRDO's efforts at meeting growing UAV requirements of the nation, particularly its armed forces.

  • DRDO is developing a supersonic target drone as a follow-up to Lakshya-2.
  • The Navy has projected a requirement for a 10-t class RUAV. DRDO is developing technology for the RUAV but is yet undecided on whether to convert an existing unmanned platform (like Chetak) to a RUAV, or develop a RUAV from scratch.
  • DRDO is actively working on a solar powered ISR UAV capable of remaining aloft for weeks at a time. It's also developing technology for a solar powered ISR airship capable of remaining on station at an altitude of 50-60 km for months at a stretch.
  • In the future, DRDO plans to pursue development of UAV swarms which theoretically are more resilient and adaptive in performing their tasks.

It maybe noted that HAL is also independently working on a RUAV project in partnership with Israel. The project involves converting a Chetak helicopter into an unmanned air vehicle. The Indian Navy has projected an initial requirement for 8 such helicopters. The order size may eventually grow to 40 aircraft.

The unmanned Chetak uses a flight control system developed by IAI using a Bell Helicopter 206.

The Malat unmanned air systems (UAS) division of IAI is working with HAL on the project under a wider cooperation agreement.

Here is the DRDO Chief's interview with Unammned magazine.

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