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DRDO reveals updated Abhyas target system

A scale model of the ADE Abhyas at ADMS 2023. (Janes/Akshara Parakala)

Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) – an agency under the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) – revealed an updated configuration of the Abhyas High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) at the eighth Aerospace & Defence Manufacturing Show (ADMS) 2023 held in Bangalore on 26 and 27 October.

The original configuration of Abhyas was launched in 2013 and featured twin underslung boosters. However, the new configuration features a single underslung booster with an improvised rocket motor, an elongated length (2.44 m), and a new wingspan. The dimensions of the latter were not disclosed.

“The Abhyas, which was initially launched using two boosters producing 800 kgF, is now leveraging a single booster producing 400 kgF. The modification was done to reduce the initial g-factor,” an ADE official said.

According to ADE, the new Abhyas configuration provides greater efficiency compared with the original configuration in terms of thrust, endurance, and control with changes in propulsion and its integrated ADE electronics suite.

ADE claimed that in its new configuration, the 75 kg Abhyas has a 30 minute endurance, a 2 g turning radius, and a speed of Mach 0.5 (approximately 333.4 kt). It is configured with programmed weapon release, altitude hold, and heading hold functions (to maintain a constant attitude in the presence of disturbance without the need for external pilot input).

An Abhyas fitted with an automatic miss-distance indicator has also been tested using an open-loop launch integrated with a reaction control system and a potentiometer, the ADE official said. Tests are also planned for November using a closed loop.

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