skip to main content

DRDO progresses weaponised Archer UAV

A scale model of the ADE Archer (SRUAV-W) pictured at ADMS 2023. (Janes/Akshara Parakala)

India's Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) – an agency under the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) – has disclosed new details about the development and testing of its new Short-Range Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-Weaponised (SRUAV-W) – also known as ‘Archer'.

An ADE official told Janes at the eighth Aerospace and Defence Manufacturing Show (ADMS), which was held in Bangalore from 26 to 27 October, that the SRUAV-W/Archer is based on the ADE's Rustom-1 tactical UAV. “We are working through the flight test phase of Archer. We are confident that we'll be able to complete the initial weaponised flight test phase by June 2024,” the official said.

Initial development of the Rustom-1 started in 2009 for the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) role. Under the Archer project, the UAV has been remodified to carry out armed missions. The modification is understood to have started in mid-2022.

In a series of tests by ADE, Archer has constantly achieved an altitude of 20,000 ft. The system was designed to fly at a ceiling of 22,000 ft, the official said. The lower ceiling reflects the ADE's ongoing tests to support the Archer system's integration of payloads including anti-tank guided missiles and anti-personnel missiles.

The official did not disclose the engine manufacturer, but it is understood by Janes to have been imported from France. Driven by a three-bladed pusher propeller, Archer is propelled by a 16 hp piston engine.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...