India's SLYBIRD MAV maturing fast - SP's Aviation . . . India's SLYBIRD MAV maturing fast December 16, 2011: The Indian SLYBIRD hand-launched mini unmanned drone is maturing with a series of regular test-flights this year, and the coast clear for the second phase. Designed as a 2-kg all-composite fixed wing unmanned system with an endurance of 1-hour and a 10-km range, scientists developing the drone say they are extremely happy with flight test results and are ready to begin sensor integration for Phase-2 of flights. The drone, being developed for a service ceiling of 14,000 feet (but which has only been tested at 3,000 feet and sea-level so far:hitwall is intended for real-time telemetry and video surveillance using miniaturized electro-optic payloads or a daylight/IR video camera. The programme team intends to deliver a drone with capabilities and performance similar to the Israeli Elbit Skylark (being partnered by HAL in India) and the American AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven, demonstrated to the Army at Exercise Yudh Abhyas in 2009. SLYBIRD, first revealed earlier this year at Aero India 2011, is a major thrust area under the NP-MICAV (National Program on Micro Air Vehicles) jointly by DRDO-ADE, CSIR-NAL , IITs, IISc and National Design and Research Forum of the Institution of Engineers. Earlier this year, the National Aerospace Laboratory experimented successfully with a valved pulsejet engine on a miniature version of the Rustom-1 experimental drone. The development of man-portable tactical drones is aimed at the Army and paramilitary forces -- both have officially announced their interest in acquiring such a capability. The Army and CPMF have both tested Honeywell's RQ-16 T-Hawk for counter-insurgency and anti-Maoist operations, while the Army is being seen as a possibly buyer of the American AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven or Lockheed-Martin Desert Hawk, though no decision has been taken .