India's Current & Future UAVs & UCAVs


lord of 32 teeth
Senior Member
Jun 17, 2011
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The Lakshya ("target" in Sanskrit) is an Indian remotely piloted high speed target drone system developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of DRDO. The drone, remote piloted by a ground control station provides realistic towed aerial sub-targets for live fire training. The drone is ground or ship launched from a zero length launcher and recovery is by a two stage parachute system developed by ADE (DRDO), for land or sea based recovery. The drone has a crushable nose cone, which absorbs the impact of landing, minimizing damage. The flight path may be controlled or pre-programmed, based upon the type of mission.

A modified reconnaissance version of the Lakshya is under development. This version was fitted with oblique cameras and a digital on board computer with a faster data-link enabling the drone to carry out completely autonomous operations. The development of this version was formally announced by Dr VK Aatre, then Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, during his lecture on "Evolving Battlefields and Role of Technology" organized by Bangalore Science Forum on 5 July 2003.

India's Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) has just announced the successful flight test of a Lakshya-2 pilotless targeting drone. According to a DRDO statement on 21 dec 2010, "Users have indicated their requirement of flying pilotless target aircraft at very low altitudes (15 to 25 metres above sea level) to simulate the trajectory of low-level cruise missiles. Accordingly ADE has prepared Lakshya-2 with necessary hardware and software to meet those requirements."

Features of the aircraft

The Lakshya features a breakable nose cone, air target imitator, infra-red sensor and synthetic aperture radar.
It is equipped with a target towing unit under wing pylons to train crews of anti-aircraft guns and missiles.
A JATO rocket booster weighing 145kg is installed to enable smooth take-off.
Avionics onboard the Lakshya UAV

The avionics suite installed in the Lakshya includes flight control electronics (FCE), electro-mechanical actuators, vertical gyro, acoustic miss distance indicator (AMDI) and CW doppler. The AMDI measures the miss distance of projectiles and assesses performance and proficiency of the artillery crew.
Engines, thrust and power

The Lakshya is powered by a single PTAE-7 turbojet engine rated at 3.7kN of thrust. The engine is designed and manufactured by HAL in Bangalore. It features a four stage transonic axial flow compressor, single stage turbine, an annular flow combustion chamber, digital electronic fuel control system and 16 fuel flow burners.
The length and diameter of the engine are 1.27m and 0.33m respectively. The dry weight is 65kg.

General characteristics

Crew: None
Length: 2385 mm
Wingspan: 3m
Height: (500-5000 m)
Wing area: 2.27 m2
Airfoil: NACA64A008
Max takeoff weight: 705 kg (1554 lb)
Powerplant: 1 × HAL PTAE-7 turbojet

Maximum speed: Mach 0.7
Range: 150 km (93.2 mi)
Service ceiling: 9000 m (5000 m with towed sub-target)
Rate of climb: 25 m/s ()

Launch & recovery
Launch: Rocket Assisted
Recovery: Two stage parachute


The Searcher Mk II is a multi mission tactical UAV system used for surveillance, reconnaissance, target acquisition, artillery adjustment and damage assessment.
The Searcher Mk II system main features and capabilities are:

Multiple operational configurations
Low-noise integrated 4 stroke engine for low audio detection
Built from composite materials to reduce radar tection
Adverse weather capability
Safe, reliable and easy operation
Two proven simultaneous Automatic Takeoff and Landing (ATOL) systems for maximal safety
Fully redundant, state-of-the-art avionics


Electro Optical (TV & IR Combi or Triple Sensor TV/IR/LD)
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)
COMINT & ESM Integration Capability
Customer furnished payloads

Direct Line-of-Sight (LOS) data link
UAV airborne data relay for beyond LOS missions
Ground-based data relay for beyond LOS missions

Endurance 20 hr.
Range 300 km
Altitude 23,000 ft

Technical Data
Max. take-off weight 436 kg
Max. payload weight 120 kg

Overall length 5.85 m
Wingspan 8.55 m

The Indian Army has reportedly deployed its first batch of 25 Israeli-made Searcher Mark II unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) over its frontiers with Pakistan and China. I India has purchased 100 of the reconnaissance drones at a cost of $750 million and may double this order. The Searcher Mark II is produced by Israel Aircraft Industries. It can remain airborne for 16 hours and has a maximum range of 150 kilometers at the relatively high altitude of 18,500 feet, making it especially suitable for missions over the Himalayas.


The Heron UAV System is an operational fourth generation long-endurance medium-altitude system based on leading-edge technology with new fully automatic take-off and landing features. It provides deep-penetration, wide-area, real-time intelligence to national agencies, theater commanders and lower echelons. The Heron provides ample modular space up to 250 kg for customer furnished equipment, is interoperable with other MALAT UAV systems and has demonstrated 52 hours of continuous flight.

The Heron UAV system has been developed by IAI / Malat, to carry out strategic reconnaissance and surveillance. Initially deployed with the Indian defense forces, for high altitude land surveillance and maritime patrol missions, the Heron has been acquired by the Israel Air Force and Turkish defense Forces, for similar applications.

India has renewed interest in buying unmanned spy planes from Israel for deployment on its borders with Pakistan and China. A deal with Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) for the purchase of 50 Heron aircraft that can mount a remote surveillance of the ground from a height of 20,000 feet is in advanced stage of negotiation.

The Indian Army sign the contract for the Heron unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) after identifying the Israeli aircraft as the best for use in the Himalayas. Other bidder's UAVs failed in the height test.

The Indian Army already has a fleet of 12 Heron UAVs and their efficiency has been established beyond doubt, source said. They point out that a deal worth over $210 million was almost struck in early 2004 but it fell through because of the change of government at the centre.

The present political leadership has been convinced by the drone's value after they played a crucial part in search and rescue operations following the Indian Ocean tsunami in December last year. Israeli-made Searcher and Heron UAVs were used to locate trapped survivors and missing bodies, primarily in the region of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Since these UAVs are able to relay clear photographs while in flight, the Indian Air Force was able to dispatch rescue helicopters as soon as a survivor or victims were identified on screen via a live feed.

The HERON I main features and capabilities are:

Multiple operational configurations

Adverse weather capability
Safe, reliable and easy operation
Simultaneously 4 sensors use capability
Satellite communication for extended range (SATCOM)
Two proven simultaneous Automatic Takeoff and Landing (ATOL) systems for maximal safety
Fully redundant, state-of-the-art avionics
Retractable landing gear


Electro Optical (TV & IR Combi or Triple Sensor TV/IR/LD)
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)
Maritime Patrol Radar (MPR)
COMINT & ESM capability
Customer furnished sensor suites
Communication relay package
Integrated ATC Radio


Direct Line-of-Sight (LOS) data link
UAV airborne data relay for beyond LOS missions
Ground-based data relay


Endurance: 45 hr
Range: 350 km
Range with satellite coverage: Beyond Line of Sight
Altitude: 30,000 ft

Technical Data

Maximum take-off weight: 1,150 kg
Maximum Payload Weight: 250 Kg
Overall Length: 8.50 m
Wingspan: 16.60 m


The DRDO Nishant is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) developed by India's ADE (Aeronautical Development Establishment) a branch of DRDO for the Indian Armed Forces. The Nishant UAV is primarily tasked with intelligence gathering over enemy territory and also for recon,training, surveillance, target designation, artillery fire correction, damage assessment, ELINT and SIGINT. The UAV has an endurance of 4 h 30 min. Nishant has completed development phase and user trials.

The 380 kg (840 lb) Nishant UAV requires rail-launching from a hydro-pneumatic launcher and recovered by a Parachute System. Launches at a velocity of 45 m/s are carried out in 0.6 second with 100 kW power and subsequent launches can be carried out in intervals of 20 minutes. The Mobile Hydro-Pneumatic Launcher (MHPL) system mounted on a Tatra truck weighs 14,000 kg (31,000 lb) and boasts of a life cycle of 1000 launches before requiring overhaul. Nishant is one of the few UAVs in the world in its weight-class capable of being catapult-launched and recovered by using parachute, thus eliminating the need for a runway as in case of conventional take-off and landing with wheels.


Day/night capability training vehichle
Battlefield reconnaissance & surveillance,
Target tracking and localization
Artillery fire correction
All terrain mobility
Target designation (using integral laser target designator)
Endurance: 4 h 30 min

Ground support systems

Mobile hydropneumatic launcher (MHPL)
Ground control station (GCS)
Antenna vehicle/Ground Data Terminal(GDT)
Avionics preparation vehicle(APV)
Mechanical maintenance vehicle
UAV transportation vehicle
Power supply vehicle

General characteristics

Crew: None
Payload: 45 kg
Length: 4.63 m (15.2 ft)
Wingspan: 6.57 m (21.6 ft)
Height: ()
Empty weight: 380 kg (840 lb)
Powerplant: 1 × RE-2-21-P or RE-4-37-P,


Maximum speed: 185 km/h
Cruise speed: 125 km/h to 150 km/h
Range: 160 km (100 mi)
Service ceiling: 3,600 m (up to 11,800 ft)

Launch & recovery

Launch: Mobile hydropneumatic launcher (MHPL) system
Recovery: Parachute + landing bags



HARPY is a lethal UAV designed to detect, attack and destroy radar emitters.
Harpy is a "Fire-and-Forget" all-weather, day/night autonomous weapon system, launched from a ground vehicle behind the battle zone or from ship based launchers.

HARPY effectively suppresses hostile SAM and radar sites for long duration, by detecting, attacking and destroying radar targets with a very high hit accuracy.

HARPY provides the most effective solution to the hostile radar problem, at the lowest price. HARPY is in production, is already operational with several nations Air Forces, and is currently available.

Weighs 135 kg, 2.1 meter long, 2.7 meter span and with range of 500 km. It is sealed in its sealed launcher/container, to endure harsh battlefield conditions. It can be fueled or defueled in the launcher, therefore retaining its readiness at all time. The system uses periodical built-in test to maintain full readiness.


Unlike the Harpy, the Harop is remotely piloted and comes equipped with electro-optical sensor. It is equipped with a high performance FLIR and color CCD with 360 degrees hemispherical coverage to search for an identify targets.

It can hover over a battlefield and allowing the operator to select non emitting static or moving targets in a battlefield and attack them with pinpoint accuracy.

It can attack radar transmitter that may have been shut down as protection.

Harop can also be used against suspected ballistic missile sites, where target missile silos and shelters as they are opened before firing.

Aerodynamically the Harop features outer wing extextensions, a longer nose and canard foreplanes.

Like the Harpy, Harop is a suicide drone with 23-kg warhead. It is 2.5 meter long with a 3-meter wingspan and has a six-hour endurance.

Using the drone an operator can attack a target from any angle.

The operator monitors the attack until the target is hit, allowing for an abort anytime in order to avoid collateral damage. It can then make another attack run.

General characteristics

Crew: None
Length: 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in)
Wingspan: 3.00 m (9 ft 10 in)

Range: 1000 km ( miles)
Endurance: 6 hours 0 min

23 kg (51 lb) warhead





Rustom (English: Warrior) is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) being developed by DRDO for the three services, Indian Army, Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force of the Indian Armed Forces. Rustom is derived from the NAL's LCRA (Light Canard Research Aircraft) developed by a team under the leadership of late Prof. Rustom B. Damania in the 1980s. The UAV will have structural changes and a new engine. Rustom will replace/supplement the Heron UAVs in service with the Indian armed forces.

Rustom-1 Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is being developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a DRDO lab engaged in R&D work in the field of aeronautics. The UAV is designed for an endurance of 14 hrs and altitude ceiling of 8000 meters.

The Rustom UAV is being developed in two phases.
In Phase I, an unmanned version of NAL's LCRA (Light Canard Research Aircraft), a Long-EZ design built in the 80s for research purposes, will be used as the Rustom-I. As it is a single engine system which does not have the endurance or payload that would meet the DRDO requirements, it is only used to develop technologies and subsystems. This technology initiative project is under progress, and a lot of subsystems are currently being qualified on the unmanned version of LCRA, which is basically a Rutan Long-EZ derivative. It was publicly displayed at Aerosem 2008, a celebration for the golden jubilee of DRDO at ADE in Bangalore, along with sub-scaled RC models of both Phase I and II articles. Low speed trials were done on Sept 22, high speed ones followed in October and flight testing followed suit.

Phase II concerns a totally different design, the Rustom-H, that owes nothing to Burt Rutan's design. It is a Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (MALE UAV), a twin engine system designed to carry out surveillance and reconnaissance missions. It is being developed for all three services of Indian Armed Forces. DRDO and the services have been interacting extensively to arrive at a mutually acceptable qualitative requirement that would meet the long-term requirements of the services. Rustom is supposed to match the performance and requirements of similar international UAVs such as the Heron.

The T-tail is because of the need to house ESM/CSM antennas on the tips of the T — one can see three vertical pieces on each tip, which are the CSM/ESM antennas — the need to perch them without interference having ruled out a Y-tail. The tail portion, both horizontal and vertical, does not contain any fuel because there is too much CG shift if the fuel is loaded there, therefore fuel is loaded only in the wing and the fuselage. The full tail is madeout of GFRP, so there is no reason to worry about the tail spoiling the RCS signature. Besides service ceiling is high enough to evade detection by ground based radars, and airborne radars are not a problem either because the body is fully made of composite materials.

Rustom will be launched by the conventional method and not the launcher as in the case of the group's Lakshya and Nishant. Rustom will be able to see the enemy territory up to a distance of 250 km and carry a variety of cameras and radar for surveillance. Being a long endurance UAV, it will be very useful for both military and civil applications such as monitoring the enemy's order of battle, traffic monitoring, border patrols, disaster management and prevention of drug trafficking and infiltration, etc. Indian armed forces as well as coast guard and police forces require such a UAV in large numbers in order to meet their military and civil needs.

Phase II will proceed once the production agency and development partner (PADP) has been identified. The ADE officials indicated that the requests for proposals (RFP) would shortly be issued to four vendors which are the Tatas, Larsen and Toubro, Godrej and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited-Bharat Electronics (joint bid) who were chosen out of the 23 firms that responded. Currently, negotiations are underway between these companies and the three Indian armed forces since the private majors are looking for support and commitment from them before they start executing any development and production plans. This is because of the fact that the chosen PADP will also have a financial stake in the Rustom project. The Armed Forces would also be asked to take up a financial stake and the Indian government may have to guarantee that a specific number of Rustom UAVs will be bought. ADE will be the main agency taking up the project and the project coordinator. DRDO laboratories such as DEAL, Dehradun, LRDE, Bangalore and DLRL, Hyderabad will be the other work centers.

The Rustom-H UAV has already been displayed in full-scale model form at Aero India '09. A 1:2 model of the Rustom has already completed control surface tests and low speed taxi trials, but it will be three years to the first flight of the real FSD article, however. The program is expected to culminate in a viable operational system by the end of 2012. As a side note, it is worthy of mention that the Rustom UAVs have been named after Rustom Behram Damania, a former professor of IISc, Bangalore who died in 2001 and who forming the starting point and nucleus of small aircraft design at National Aeronautical Laboratories (NAL) during the 1980s. Indeed, the Rustom-1's forerunner, the LCRA, was the first design built under his auspices.


There will be three variants of the Rustom UAV.
Rustom-1: tactical UAV with endurance of 12 hours

Rustom-H: Larger UAV with flight endurance of 24 hours.

Rustom-C: Armed version of the Rustom-H UAV.
STARGAZER - A unique database on Burt Rutan and his projects!



Take-off/landing: conventional / ATOL
Service ceiling: 30,000 ft (9,144 m) (earlier source gave 35,000 ft.)
Endurance: > 24 hrs on station at 1000 km
Wingspan: 20 m (65.616 ft)
Empty weight: 1,800 kg (3968.32 lbs)
Maximum speed: 225 km/h (139.81 mph)
Engine performance: 128 Nm @ 5800 RPM

Operational range:
Direct line of sight: 250 km
With relay: 350 km

Electro-optic payload : Day and night electro-optic sensors
Radar payloads: Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) /
Maritime Patrol Radar (MPR)
ESM payloads: ELINT & COMINT
Payload capacity: 350 kg

The Gagan UAV is an Israeli model of unmanned aerial vehicle.
This project is jointly developed by DRDO and HAL. The Gagan UAV will have a range of 250 km and will have an altitude of 20,000 feet.


The NRUAV is aimed at enhancing the Indian Navy's capabilities for real-time ISR, day and night Over the horizon targeting,battle and damage assessment,and communications relay. Jointly built by Israel Aerospace Industries'Malatdivision and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.,the system will be based on the legacy Chetak (oldAlouetteIII) helicopters for ship-borne unmanned surveillance.The Vehicle's ELTA EL/M–2022 multi-mission radar will be designed for detection and tracking of multiple targets at an operational ceiling of 15,000 feet.The project is anticipated to generate signficant revenue lines for some Indian contractors operating as Tier1 suppliers to HAL, specifically for engineering design,
cabling and harnesses and integration.

MALAT unveiled here the Maritime Naval Rotary Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (NRUAV) being developed with under cooperation with India. In fact, the platform for the first NRUAV is the Chetak (Alouette III), widely used by the Indian Navy. The helicopter could be deployed for mission of 6 hours, up to a distance of 120 km from the launching vessel.

Employed as an 'elevated mast', NRUAV can extend the vessel's coverage over a much larger area, providing early warning and detection of aircraft, and cruise missiles, surface vessels and even subsurface activity. For example, its radar could easily detect a patrol boat from 80 nautical miles, automatically detect and track surface targets and effectively handle 64 airborne targets. Being transformed into a pilotless platform, the helicopter will be equipped with multiple payloads, for multi-mission performance, enabling aerial shipborne resupply, maritime surveillance and other missions to continue regardless on weather conditions.

It has been demonstrated that automatic landing, relying on closely coordinating the helicopter's flight controls in reference to the, ship's landing deck rolling under high sea conditions is safer than a pilot controlled landing under such conditions. The NRUAV features automatic take-off and landing from aviation capable ships and from unprepared landing sites.

Among the sensor suites that can be carried by the NRUAV are different Maritime Surveillance Radar systes, capable of surface and counter-submarine operation, resolution sharpening, synthetic apperture radar (SAR) and Inverse SAR modes. Electro-optical payloads are also carried. Airborne intelligence also accommodate electronic – a SIGNIT/COMINT Suite that can be carried on UAVs, like the EL/K-7071 COMINT and EL/K-7071 SIGINT systems EL/L-8385 Electronic Support measures (ESM). Among the optronic payloads, stabilized Plug-In Optronic Payload (POP) Family on display includes POP300LR Observer, Mini-POP and Multi-Mission Optronic Stabilized Payload – MOSP3000. The entire sensor suit is controlled from the ship's command information center (CIC).
IAI Introduces a Naval Rotary UAV at IMDEX 09


India is planning to develop a solar-powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and scouting for a foreign partner for collaboration.

The proposed solar-based UAV would have much longer flight duration - as high as 15 days, compared to conventional UAV, according to sources in the Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a lab of the Defence Research and Development Organisation.

"We are looking for collaboration with a foreign partner to develop this UAV", an ADE official said.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has revealed that India plans to develop solar-powered unmanned flying machines with the capability of remaining airborne for at least a month in all weather conditions.

With specially-designed solar panels to keep it airborne even in nights and cloudy weather conditions the UAV would be capable of providing real-time information and data of the area through a secure data link.
India plans to develop solar-powered UAVs
India plans to develop solar-powered UAV -


(1)PAWAN Mini UAV:
With an estimated development cost of USD 33 million,this joint program between the Indian DRDO and Israeli Aerospace Industries(IAI) commenced in 2006.The platform is expected to have EO-IR surveillance capability, an endurance of five hours and a range of 150 kilometers(akin to Israel's EyeView, Hermes180 and Silver Arrow Drones).We anticipate an expansionary impact on IAI's revenue line from this project.
ADE plans to build four Pawan prototypes under this development program, with Israel Aircraft Industries electro-optical sensors for the payload and its own stabilizer platform. The engine will be purchased from outside India.
Development costs of the short-range, vehicle-mounted Pawan is were expected to cost $33.2 million (U.S. Dollars)
“Defense News”: Israel, India agree to develop 3 new UAVs - Globes


The National Aeronautics Lab (NAL) Slybird drone, first revealed earlier this year on Livefist is shortly to begin a second phase of trial flights with a videocamera/IR payload. Its first phase of launches was completed in July this year. The drone is part of the larger micro air vehicle effort funded by the Ministries of Defence and Science & Technology to meet multiple requirements of portable drones for tactical/over-the-hill reconnaisance/intelligence. NAL sources suggest that they intend to create a drone with capabilities comparable to the US Army's Raven. Will post a video of the Slybird in flight soon.

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) 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.
Livefist: India's SLYBIRD Mini-drone Payload Flights Soon
India's SLYBIRD MAV maturing fast - SP's Aviation


India's defence research agency DRDO has developed an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) specifically for anti-terrorist and counter insurgency operations, which will be inducted into the armed forces by the year-end.

The 1.5 kg UAV, called 'Netra', is a collaborative development project between ideaForge, a company formed by a group of Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, alumni and one of Defence Research and Development Organisation's Pune-based labs, Research and Development Establishment (Engineers) (R&DE) Pune.

DRDO scientist Dr Alok Mukherjee, who demonstrated the UAV, here yesterday said Netra would be ready for induction into the services within the next six months after it is subjected to some more trial tests.

"The UAV is capable of operating in all the conflict theatres, including urban quarters, in a situation similar to that of the 26/11 terror attacks.", he told reporters here yesterday.

Dr. Mukerjee said the estimated cost of Netra is Rs 20 lakhs, but the price could vary if additional components like thermal camera are added as per the requirements of the security agencies concerned and their use.

IdeaForge, vice-president (Marketing and Operations Unmanned Systems) Amardeep Singh said the UAV has been designed to carry out surveillance in an area of 1.5 KM Line of Sight (LOS) and has an endurance capacity of 30 minutes of battery charge.

Apart from that, Netra is equipped with a resolution CCD camera with a pan/tilt and zoom to facilitate wider surveillance. It can also be fitted with thermal cameras to carry out night operations.

Singh said the operational altitude of the UAV is 200 meters maximum, having a vertical take-off and landing capacity (VTOL) and is equipped with a wireless transmitter.

In addition to that, the in-built fail-safe features allows Netra to return to base on loss of communication or low battery.

Asked if the UAV could function in all-weather condition, Singh said the machine cannot be operated in rainy conditions but r

The Hindu : News / National : DRDO develops UAV ‘Netra’ to aid anti-terrorist operations
Trials successful, Netra to enter production stage - Indian Express


(1) RUSTOM 2

India is developing an unmanned aerial vehicle similar to the American Predator drones with an investment of Rs 1,500 crore and planning unmanned combat vehicles, a key official involved in the project said on Monday.

UAV Rustom-2 project is spread over 66 months, director of Bengaluru-based Aeronautical Development Establishment, a Defence Research and Development Organisation laboratory, P S Krishnan, told PTI.

Rustom-2 would have a wing-span of 21-odd metres and an endurance of 24-hours-plus, as against seven-odd metres an 12-15 hours of Rustom-1, which has already completed five flights. ADE is the nodal lab for these projects.

Rustom-2 would have new payloads such as synthetic aperture radar, maritime patrol radar and collision avoidance system, among others, he said. "With its capability and the amount of payload it can carry, it (Rustom-2) compares well with (American) Predator (drones) and other class of vehicles," Krishnan said.

The Predator is a nickname given to one in a series of UAVs, or pilotless drones, operated by the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency and, increasingly, other agencies of the US federal government such as the border patrol.

Asked if India is also developing unmanned aerial combat vehicles, he said "we are thinking of that one. Some plans will be there". Meanwhile, Rustom-1, the Medium Altitude Long EnduranceUnmanned Aerial Vehicle (MALE - UAV), would be integrated with payloads by next month, Krishnan said. "We have demonstrated all the flying characteristics of the Rustom more or less in the final form".

The UAV, he said, will be an advanced version of Rustom-1, the medium altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (Male UAV), which has an endurance of 12-15 hours. The wing span of Rustom-2 will be 21 meters, one of the largest in its category with a flight endurance of 24 hours, he said.

The enthusiasm for Rustom-2 comes even as the Indian Army has not placed any order for Rustom-1, which recently completed its fifth flight on the outskirts of Bangalore

India may soon have its own 'Predator drones' - News
ADE working on Rustom-2 UAV


DRDO is also developing the AURA (Autonomous Unmanned Research Aircraft) which is an Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle for the Indian Air Force. The design work on the UCAV is carried out by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADE). The AURA UCAV will be a tactical stealth aircraft built largely with composites, and capable of delivering laser-guided strike weapons. It would be a stealthy flying-wing concept aircraft with internal weapons and a turbofan engine.
India will soon embark on developing an indigenous unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) for surveillance, detection and destroying specific targets, a top defence official said on Wednesday. "We will soon embark on designing and developing an unmanned combat aerial vehicle, which will not only do surveillance, but will also help detect the target and destroy the identified object," V.K. Saraswat, scientific advisor to Defence Minister A.K. Antony, told reporters here.

An UCAV or 'combat drone' differs from ordinary UAVs as it is designed to deliver weapons. The pilotless vehicle can carry greater payloads and have wide range and manoeuvrability in the absence of a cockpit and associated equipment.The ambitious project will be taken up by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Bangalore with private industry participation. "The controls of a combat drone will be rested with multiple command control centres. The centres can be geographically at different locations. Even if one centre becomes defunct, the drone can be controlled and guided by other centres," Saraswat, who recently took over as director general of the DRDO, said on the margins of a conference."The UCAV will work in a multi-layer manner for which ADE is developing the required technology, including sensors," Saraswat said after inaugurating the fifth national conference on 'NextGen IT for Indian Defence'.

At a Glance

Stealth UCAV
Capable of releasing missiles, bombs and PGM at enemy targets
Internal Weapons Bay
Turbofan Engine
Ceiling: 30,000-ft
Weight: 15 ton

The UCAV is currently referred to as IUSAP FOR Indian Unmanned Strike Aircraft Program.AURA will be developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) at Bangalore in collaboration with Defence Avionics Research Establishment (Bangalore), Defence Electronics Application Lab (Dehradun) and Gas Turbine Research Establishment (Bangalore).DRDO is confident of developing the UCAVs mainly on its own, with "some foreign consultancy or collaboration" in fields like stealth as well as autonomous short-run take-off and landing, according to Dr. Prahlada

In August 2011 a DRDO official told the press that the UCAV maybe powered by the indigenous 75kN thrust Kaveri engine.

PLEASE NOTE: I have tried my level best to give upto date information regarding UAVs & UCAVs of india ,if i bychance missed out some uav or some new uav/ucav is developed or inducted plz do update this thread.THANK U



Daku Mongol Singh
Senior Member
Mar 7, 2009
to add HAL PTAE-7 Turbojet layout used in Lakshya PTA

Kunal Biswas

Member of the Year 2011
May 26, 2010
hmMM CORRECT but still some websites claim it as UAV ,dont know why???

thanks do u think this thread deserves sticky thread
Most think UAV is PTA but its not, Website people can call it UAV in a sense but its use are not like UAV..

I don`t now abt Sticky but their is one more thread which can be merge..


Daku Mongol Singh
Senior Member
Mar 7, 2009
So what about Harpy, it functions more like an Anti-radiation Missile then to term it as UAV.
Feb 16, 2009
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The Harpy is one of my favorite in our inventory, it can fly for hours and seek and destroy enemy radar or other valuable assets. Harpy was designed by Israelis to take out Iran's S-300's.


Senior Member
Aug 27, 2011
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Another excellent thread. It's also very accurate more or less. Kudos to my friend Somnath :)


lord of 32 teeth
Senior Member
Jun 17, 2011
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Excellent thread and a lot of hard work there Somnath. Good job!

I had posted some comments on how people were considering using pulse-jet engines for drones. I will find those posts and cross-post them here.

Here is a thread with some related posts:
thanks buddy i want this thread as sticky thread as u guys u would post any new UAV or UCAVs india makes or buys even if i am alive or not


Regular Member
Apr 6, 2009
For some pilots future Wars would be played like some Video games, flying it from somewhere very far way from Battlefield.

Future Wars will rely heavily on UAVs and UCAVs, transforming today's battlefields just as profoundly as the first airplanes transformed warfare during World War I.
Imagine a armed UAVs flying over the enemy heads, giving upto date info on thier positions and ready to attack. Even the Battalin commander who under enemy fire can directly control armed drones and send them to attack without risking them self.
UAVs proved very effective in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq. They gaved upto date movements of Insurgents.

Future is unpredicted, Mayebe in future B-1 or B-52 could launch UCAVs from bomb bay doors.

Amercians mastered and exploits UAVs data centric warfare. They are training more personals to fly UAVs than recruiting new Pilots to fly Aircrafts.
Unlike US, India and other countries dont have any real experience in Drones. UAVs crashing record would be same has the MiG-21 record. Almost 30% of Predator fleet recorded crashes caused by part failures, pilot error, and interrupted signals.

India still needs to invest heavily on drones.

to add HAL PTAE-7 Turbojet layout used in Lakshya PTA
Any chance of using this turbojet for Rustom?,.............Something like Predator transformed into Predator-C Avenger!!!

More advanced drones are already becoming international. Jet power engines with better electronics.

The Harpy is one of my favorite in our inventory, it can fly for hours and seek and destroy enemy radar or other valuable assets. Harpy was designed by Israelis to take out Iran's S-300's.
Got some doubths on Harpy!!.............The Article say its fire-and-forget type.

Can it send data back to base like the other UAVs?
Does it mean it can only be used for suicide role?
What the difference between a LACM and Harpy. The command can send a cruise missile for that role.

Kamakazi role will only be used if there not much time to send a fighter or missile to the target.

UAVs like these must be cost around 2-6 million per piece. It would be better to send the data to the command and launch a cruise missile. Cruise missile carry more payload than UAVs

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