India's Rustom-1 UAV Makes "First Flight" Again, This Time Successfully [UPDATED]

The second "maiden" flight of the Rustom-1 technology demonstrator UAV was conducted successfully in Bangalore on Saturday. In November last year, the first Rustom-1 airframe crashed during its first flight at the Taneja Airfield near Hosur in what became a major embarrassment to the team. Friday's flight of the second Rustom-1 prototype was for 30 minutes. The Rustom-1 is a technology feeder programme (based on the NAL LCRA) for the more capable Rustom-H medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV that hasn't flown yet. The photograph above is from the failed first flight last year.

Here's DRDO's statement:

RUSTOM the Medium altitude long endurance Unmanned Arial Vehicle being developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment, a premier DRDO lab specializing in UAVs and flight control systems, was successfully flown in its maiden flight. The aircraft was flown in a manner exactly as planned, up to a height of 3000 ft. and remained airborne for 30 minutes and completed all mission requirements. It taxied, took off and landed (among the most challenging maneuvers for a UAV), using a runway at an air field owned by Taneja Aerospace, Bangalore, like a normal aircraft with the ground based pilot in full control monitoring every maneuver of the aircraft and auto mode remaining on.

Rustom with a designed endurance of 12-15 hour, 25000 ft. altitude and 75 kg pay load is forerunner to the more advanced Rustom H and UCAV. The data link for this aircraft has been developed by DEAL, another DRDO laboratory and the airframe has been built by Zephyr Aerospace, Coimbatore. The subsequent flights will test and demonstrate these capabilities such as way point navigation, altitude and endurance parameters, the systems for which have been already incorporated in the aircraft.

Dr. Prahlada, Distinguished Scientist and Chief Controller R&D (Aeronautics & Services Interaction) who was present their briefed the mission details. The flight was witnessed by Dr. G. Elangovan, Distinguished Scientist & CCR&D(R&M), Shri PS Krishnan, Distinguished Scientist & Director ADE, Shri G. Natarajan, Program Director, Shri G. Sreenivasamurthy, Project Director, and, Shri Ajoy Raman, Chairman FRR.

More on the Rustom-H here and here.

Photo Courtesy Anantha Krishnan M (of the failed 1st flight in November 2009)

Labels: , , , , , ,