India’s Rustom 2 Unmanned Aircraft Crash Lands During Flight Test

A Rustom 2 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), being developed by India’s DRDO, has crash landed in a field near Challakere Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) in the Chitradurga district of Karnataka on Sept. 17.

The UAV was conducting an experimental flight trial in a new configuration when the incident happened at around 6 in the morning, according to a DRDO statement.

DRDO Rustom 2 is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) unmanned air vehicle (UAV) being developed by India’s state-owned defence research agency, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), for the Inzzzzdian Armed Forces.

Once fully ready, the Rustom UAVs will replace Israeli Heron UAVs being used by the Indian Air Force and the Navy.

According to Indian media, Rustom-2 is comparable to the American-made MQ-1 Predator drone and can fly for 24 hours at stretch. It can conduct sustained surveillance missions and may carry weapons along with surveillance equipment.

The drone is powered by two wing-mounted NPO-Saturn 36MT turboprop engines delivering a thrust of around 73.55 kW (~100 hp) each.

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.

First flight of the UAV took place in November 2016 after a 3-year delay.

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