DRDO performs maiden flight of unmanned aircraft demonstrator

The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) on Friday July 1 successfully conducted the maiden flight of the Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator from Aeronautical Test Range, Chitradurga, Karnataka

Operating in fully autonomous mode, the aircraft performed a perfect flight, including takeoff, waypoint navigation and a smooth landing. This flight marks a major milestone in terms of proof of critical technologies for the development of future unmanned aircraft and is an important step towards autonomy in these strategic defense technologies, DRDO said.

The unmanned aerial vehicle is designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bengaluru, a leading research laboratory of DRDO. It is powered by a small turbojet engine. The airframe, landing gear and all of the flight control and avionics systems used for the aircraft were developed locally.

The demonstrator, which looks like the mini version of an American B-2 stealth bomber, has a similar “flying wing” configuration. This allows it to carry more fuel and stay in the air longer. It also gives the aircraft less radar signature.

DRDO said the aircraft exhibited perfect flight, including takeoff, waypoint navigation and a smooth landing while operating in fully autonomous mode.

This technology demonstrator is part of India’s eventual plan to build an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) that will be capable of reconnaissance and will also perform tactical actions like dropping missiles and bombs.

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated DRDO on this major achievement which he said will pave the way for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” in terms of critical military systems for autonomous aircraft.

Secretary of the Department of Defense R&D and Chairman of DRDO, Dr. G Satheesh Reddy, appreciated the efforts of the teams associated with the design, development and testing of the system.

Earlier on Wednesday, June 29, DRDO conducted a flight test of the ABHYAS High Speed ​​Expandable Air Target (HEAT) from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur, off Odisha. The aircraft’s low-altitude performance, including sustained level and high maneuverability was demonstrated during the test flight. The target aircraft was flown from a ground controller into a pre-designated low-altitude flight path, which was monitored by various tracking sensors deployed by ITR, including radar and an electro-targeting system. -optical.

ABHYAS is designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment of Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). The aerial vehicle was launched using twin underslung boosters which provide initial acceleration to the vehicle. It is powered by a small gas turbine engine to support long endurance flight at high subsonic speed. The target aircraft is equipped with an inertial navigation system based on micro-electromechanical systems for navigation, as well as the flight control computer for guidance and control, and a native radio altimeter for very low altitude flight and a data link for encrypted communication between the ground control station and the target. Plane. The vehicle is programmed for fully autonomous flight.