The DRDO’s DroneRustom-2takes-off, India goes for armed Heron.

The DRDO's DroneRustom-2takes-off, India goes for armed Heron.

On Friday, the DRDO tested a Rustom 2 altitude long-lasting indigenous prototype drone that managed to achieve a flight of eight hours at an altitude of 16,000 feet at Chitradurga, Karnataka, after overcoming the initial programme reverses. The prototype is anticipated to achieve a height of 26000 feet and endurance of 18 hours by the end of 2020.

Rustom-2 can contain different transmission combinations, including synthetic apertures radar, electromagnetic intelligence systems as well as situational awareness systems, depending on the objectives of its mission. The drone Rustom 2 has a satellite communication connection in real time to relay situation in the battle. “The Rustom-2 had one hour of fuel left after eight hours of test flying at Challakere aeronautical test range in Chitradurga district of Karnataka and had achieved the test flight ceiling,” said a senior officer.

Although the DRDO expects a Rustom-2, aerial vehicle being used in Indian navy and air force to t match the specifications of the Israeli Heron, the DRDO reactivated its drone plan with a special mission head. The Rustom-2 programme was moved forward following a 1959 cartographic assertion on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which attempted to conquer the Indian territory in Ladakh. The PLA in its arsenal Wing has Loong II armed drones, including four for the protection of CPEC corridor and Gwadar port in Pakistan.

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While the defence ministry is trying to negotiate with Israel’s aerospace industry (IAI) not only to update the already existing Heron Drone Fleet, but to also equip them with air to surface missiles & laser guided bombing, the Rustom-2 will have to undergo tests and user trials before it is inducted in the Indian military.

South Block officials state that the technological upgrade & weaponry of Heron Drone has been approved by the Defence Acquisition Committee (DAC) and now is at the negotiation Committee level. It will be cleared out at the Cabinet Security Committee (CCS) level.

In the Heron upgrade a satellite communication line is installed, so there will be no time lag in the situation for relaying on the ground and hard points for missiles & laser smart bombs are installed on the wings. Whereas the Israelis retained its armed drone programme, the Heron also has tested armed version.

In addition to the Sea Guardian drone, India also agreed to use the US armed MQ 9B drone with cost & numbers. Simply, the future belongs to stand-off weapon systems and India this time will not skip the path.

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