The first flight test of UAV Rustom-2, set to be used solely for defense purposes, would take place in February 2014, a top official at India’s Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) said.
“Designing of Rustom-2 has been completed, purchase orders have been placed and we are on schedule to fly for the first time in February 2014,”ADE Director P S Krishnan told reporters.
He said the entire project of making 10 Rustom-2 UAVs and spare vehicles at a cost of Rs 1,540 crore would be completed by August 2017.
Indigenous technology would enable ADE save about 40% cost, he said, adding that all parts, except for cameras and sensors, have been developed in the country.
Weighing 1.8 tonnes, Rustom-2 would have a capacity payload of 350 kg, a wing span of 21-odd meters and an endurance of above 24 hours, he said.
Rustom-2 is in the league of US ‘Predator’ drones due to its advanced capabilities and additional payloads, he said.
“Rustom UAVs could be deployed for military missions like reconnaissance and surveillance, target acquisition, target designation, communications relay, battle damage assessment and signal intelligence,” Krishnan said.
In future, India would also develop Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) and solar drones, he said.
Rustom-2, designed and developed by ADE, a DRDO laboratory, is comparable to top drones in the world, he said.