DRDO Test-flies Nishant UAV With Structural Health Monitoring

DRDO Statement: Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) a premier DRDO laboratory has conducted Nishant trials (N15-32) on 28.10.2010 at Kolar Airfield in which a technology breakthrough has been achieved. A new technology called the Structural Health Monitoring has been developed by Bangalore based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) and National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) (a CSIR establishment), for the monitoring of structural health parameters while the UAV is in flight. This break-through enables the structural health of aeronautical structures to be monitored, so that online health can be monitored and online and corrective action for the flight can be taken. This enables the aircraft to be flown without unnecessarily grounding them.

Analysis algorithms have been developed to predict onset of failures which would be perfected using the data obtained through today's flight. Usage of such techniques will avoid periodic grounding of the aircraft and make the maintenance schedules to be more like "on condition maintenance", the condition being detected even before the failure occurs. It will avoid unnecessary grounding of aircraft for inspection. Such a monitoring can be used for LCA, MCA, FGFA and other UAVs. Such techniques are going to be extensively used in the future in order to cut down the operation costs of the aircraft and can also lead to reduction in airfares. Such techniques can prevent ensuing danger of the flights by pre-warning the occurance of failure.

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