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Air Platforms

Aero India 2019: HAL unveils rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicle

21 February 2019
HAL displayed a full-scale prototype of a new rotary-wing UAV equipped with an electro-optical/infrared turret at Aero India 2019. Source: IHS Markit/Akshara Parakala

Indian aerospace and defence company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) unveiled a full-scale prototype of a locally designed rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at the Aero India 2019 defence exhibition being held in Bangalore on 20-24 February.

Specifically designed to perform intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations, the UAV was developed by HAL in co-operation with the country's Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, to meet specific requirements of the Indian Army and Indian Navy.

The 200 kg UAV, which is equipped with a twin-blade main rotor and a locally developed petrol engine, is stated to have a range of 200 km, endurance of six hours, and a service ceiling of 6,000 m. The platform, the fuselage of which is 4.2 m long and 1.28 m wide, is reportedly capable of flying at a top speed of 200 km/h and can carry a 40 kg payload.

The preliminary design of the platform was completed in January, with clearance for the preliminary design review (PDR) now pending.

The UAV, which features a full‐authority digital engine control (FADEC) and SLR-DC datalink, can fly in fully autonomous mode, including auto take-off and landing with a return-to-home recovery option, according to HAL. It uses GPS for interactive command and control with completely programmable mission management computers. Real-time data and video links are available for line-of-sight operations.

The UAV can be used for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions, coastal surveillance, radar and missile decoy operations, detecting improvised explosive devices and landmines, and tracking and designating targets.

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