The computer images here are the first ever
images from the official design phase of India's AURA unmanned strike air vehicle (USAV), a stealthy flying-wing UCAV that the Aeronautical Development Establishment describes as an "unmanned bomber".
In effect, what you see here is what scientists on the programme have decided it will look like -- post aerodynamic shape optimization and design optimization. Almost exactly two years ago, I had scooped some preliminary impressions
of the USAV, though the new images you see here show that the platform has properly taken shape now. The two "see-through" images are the first depicting the AURA/USAV with its internal weapons bays, weapons and intake-exhaust architecture.
The AURA/USAV is clearly a nEUROn derivative, and the guesswork impressions I commissioned
from digital artist Anurag Rana a few months ago were pretty much on the money, it turns out.
These images posted here for the first time were part of a key-note presentation that DRDO chief Dr Vijay Saraswat made in Sweden last month at the Aerospace Forum. The presentation indicates that the USAV is to be ready for operations by 2020, incorporating the country's flying wing design, flying wing controls, radar absorbent paint and a serpentine air intake. Important to note that Dassault Aviation, which leads the nEUROn programme, and Saab -- in charge of overall design -- have both offered to assist DRDO in their unmanned programmes (BAE Systems has separately offered to assist too).
More on the USAV's technologies later this week.