Magazine article National Defense

India Catching Up with Advances in UAVs

Magazine article National Defense

India Catching Up with Advances in UAVs

Article excerpt

India is looking to beef up its domestic capabilities by rapidly developing a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles. The slow development of indigenous UAVs forced India to drop around $300 million to purchase the Heron and Searcher-II systems from Israel in 1999, during a tense standoff with Pakistan.

Most recently, the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation announced it is charging ahead with the development and deployment of the domestically-produced Nishant and Lakshya drones.

Lakshya is a subsonic reusable target aircraft, powered by a gas turbine. It already is employed in the Indian Air Force, Army and Navy to train land or ship-based gun and missile crews in weapons engagement.

With rocket-assisted take-off, Lakshya can reach altitudes of 100 km. It can be recovered by parachute. It can be reused for 15 missions. A hybrid autopilot provides pitch, roll and yaw control in flight.

The Lakshya target vehicle will be the basis for the development of a subsonic cruise missile--one of the futuristic projects planned to start this year.

DRDO is about to deliver the Nishant multi-mission UAV to the services, according to an official who spoke with National Defense at Asian Aerospace 2004 in Singapore. …

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