Rustom-II, Made-In-India drone will be able to deliver precision bombs deep inside Pak And China
India’s premier defence research institute DRDO today carried out “successful” test flight of its Rustom 2 drone, a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), at Chalakere in Karnataka’s Chitradurga district.
Rustom 2 is being developed on the lines of predator drones of the US to carry out surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) roles for the armed forces with an endurance of 24 hours, officials said.
“DRDO successfully flew its Rustom 2 today at its Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) at Chalakere at Chitradurga. This flight assumes significance due to the fact that this is the first flight in user configuration with higher power engine,” a statement read.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said the test flight was “successful” and all its parameters were “normal”.
Rustom 2 is capable of carrying different combinations of payloads like synthetic aperture radar, electronic intelligence systems and situational awareness payloads, officials said.
Once inducted, this indigenous medium altitude long endurance (MALE) multirole drone is likely to be an asset for Indian armed forces for its surveillance capability as well as for its use as an unmanned armed combat vehicle.
Powered by twin NPO-Saturn 36MT turboprop engines, the Rustom-II is being developed as a long endurance surveillance platform capable of deploying precision weapons.
With a wingspan of more than 20m and an endurance of 24-30 hours, the UCAV needs a runway to takeoff and land unlike traditional UAVs, which makes it more trustworthy.
The drone can loiter autonomously at high altitudes performing real-time, high-resolution intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) with its SAR and EO sensors. When a target is identified, it will either illuminate the target with a laser designator for other strike aircraft, or descend to lower altitude and attack the target with its own air-to-surface missiles.
In contrast to Rustom-I, the next generation version is equipped with enhanced aerodynamic configuration, digital flight control, navigation system, communication intelligence, medium and long-range electro-optic payloads and synthetic aperture radar that will enable it to see through the clouds.
Rustam-2 proposed to have 2-hardpoints similar to MQ-1 predator drones, while MQ-9 reaper drones have 7-hardpoints. Once fully ready, the Rustom UAVs will replace Israeli Heron unmanned aerial vehicles being used by the air force and the navy.
The advanced version of Rustom-II will include greater endurance and service ceiling, in addition to the ability to deploy a wider variety of weapons. The Indian Army, IAF, Navy and Coast Guard have all expressed strong interest in the Rustom-II, though firm orders will clearly only land during advanced flight testing.