Rustom-2 indigenous UAV crosses a milestone
- India's indigenous Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE)Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) development programme (Rustom-II ) achieved an important milestone by reaching an altitude of 25,000 feet and an endurance of 10 hours.
- With some delays in development, the Rustom-2 last year successfully flew for eight hours at an altitude of 16,000 feet.
- It has been designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bengaluru with production partners being Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and Bharat Electronics Limited.
- It is also known as Tapas-BH (Tactical Airborne Platform for Aerial Surveillance-Beyond Horizon 201).
- The UAV is actually named after Rustom Damania, a former professor at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.
- In the 1980s, he led the National Aeronautical Laboratories’ light canard research aircraft (LCRA) program.
- The LCRA platform and R&D provide the preliminary drive for DRDO ADE’s eventual Rustom-II design
- It is being developed to carry out surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) roles and is capable of carrying different combinations of advanced payload and capable of auto-landing among others.
- It is being designed to acquire real-time, high-quality pictures and signal intelligence from fields of concern at medium to long ranges.
- It technologically matches contemporary UAVs available and will also be cheaper than the imported ones.
Significance and need:
- High endurance UAVs are a priority requirement for the armed forces especially in the standoff with China in Eastern Ladakh.
- The armed forces rely heavily on the Israeli Searcher and Heron drones and need more such UAVs.
Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE):
- It refers to an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that flies at an altitude window of 10,000 to 30,000 feet for extended durations of time, typically 24 to 48 hours.