India’s state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight-tested its indigenously designed Rustom-2 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in user configuration on 25 February.
The platform took off from the DRDO’s Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) at Chalakere in Chitradurga using a “high power engine”, the government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) said in a statement.
The 9.5 m-long UAV, which has a wingspan of 20.6 m, can carry an assortment of payloads to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. These include medium- and long-range electrooptic systems, a synthetic aperture radar, electronic and communication intelligence systems, and situational awareness payloads.
Developed by the Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Establishment in conjunction with the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Bharat Electronics Limited, the Rustom-2 is an advanced version of earlier Indian UAVs such as the Rustom-1 and Rustom-H.
Indian private company Zephyr Aerospace built the airframe for the Rustom-2, while the DRDO’s Defence Electronics Applications Laboratory developed its data link system.
The PIB did not specify whether the UAV was flight-tested using a new, more powerful engine. So far the Rustom-2 is known to have been powered by two Saturn 36T turboprop engines.
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