EXCLUSIVE: Rustom MALE UAV Programme Up For Cabinet Approval

India's Rustom medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV will be a Rs 1,500-crore project and has now reached the government's apex Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for final financial approval. The technology demonstrator part of the project, which ended with an unfortunate first flight crash last November, cost the project Rs 49-crore, and included a scaled down demonstrator vehicle (Rustom-1), which had an endurance of just 4 hours. The next two prototypes, designated Rustom-H (the first of which was displayed for the first time at AeroIndia 2009 -- see photo), will be able to cruise at 35,000-feet with an endurance of 24-hours. Both new prototypes are currently under fabrication and the first of them is scheduled for a test-flight by the end of this year.

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