Rustom-2, India’s long endurance Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) has finally completed its first flight early on November 15 in Challakere, about 200 km from Bengaluru.
The indigenous medium altitude long endurance (MALE) multirole drone Rustom-II livefistdefence
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.
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.
The team developing the Rustom-2 has faced weight reduction and systems issues, resulting in delay in its debut flight by over two years. It will now undergo through a rigorous phase of flight trials.
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.