Saturday, February 08, 2014

India's Rustom-2 MALE UAS Takes Final Shape, 1st Flight Soon

If there was one thing that stood out for me at DefExpo 2014, it had to be the Rustom-2. The DRDO UAS has shaped up nicely, and here it is on display in its final configuration. A first flight, previously slated for this month, is now likely to take place anywhere in the April-August timeframe. Plenty of Israeli influence, obviously, with some serious 'I love radar' qualities. I'm truly glad they've done away with that awful blue & white paint they put on the bird when it was first unveiled.

11 comments :

Amit Vora said...

With the almost square turbines, it is not very aerodynamic. Would it not make sense to go for miniaturization at this stage of the game? All major powers are going for aerodynamic and small UAVs. Kickstarter even has tons of people showing quadrocopters, who are silent and can rise upto 1000 meters high, with capability to talk to other quadrocopters in the area, you can certainly cover a large environment. The miniaturization of cameras have already happened. Heck, you can get 41MPs on a cell phone now, so, I wonder why isn't DRDO going for a small, more aerodynamic vessel? It could also solve the problem for fuel, add additional batteries and few solar panels, and you can extend the time it lingers in the sky.
Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shiv, great pics! and a cool bird!
Dont they have plans to mount Helina on this thing?
Also, May I suggest using a reference object (like a person) in the pics to get a sense of scale?

Anonymous said...

DRDO should be proud. At the time of it's first flight it would be the highest RCS UAV in the world. OF course, operational input is irrelevant, and even suggesting it should be the driver for development leaves me open to charges of being unpatriotic. :)

Akash said...

ANON@10:59 PM, if you think that any conventional UAV can survive in contested airspace without air dominance and that any UAS of similar size today has an operationally relevant reduced RCS, then clearly you come in from a different planet. Patriotism is not the issue, your lack of awareness is. The Rustom is firmly on the lines of the IAI Heron - go look up the RCS of that monster. Or that of the Eitan, or for that matter any propeller powered conventional UAV. The operational requirement from the IAF/IA is for a long range, sensor packed conventional platform able to be fielded asap, backed up by other forces to protect it.

Anonymous said...

Just by looking at it we can deduce that lot of Israeli expertise has gone into developing Rustom II. But still kudos to DRDO for building such a graceful bird.

Hemanta Bhuyan said...

Will it b capable to fire hellfire like missiles.

Hemanta Bhuyan said...

Will it b capable to fire hellfire like missiles.

Gessler said...

@Amit Vora

The rotating turboprop is right behind the engine cowlings, there won't be much drag created at this point. DRDO has already made quadcopter UAVs like the NETRA, Google it. It had served quite commendably during the Uttarakhand floods, flying 50 sorties & finding locations of ~200 stranded people.

The Rustom-II is designed to fly at an altitude of 35,000 ft (over 10,000 meters) with an endurance of 32 hours or so. That calls for a big bird. Also, this UAV is expected to carry quite a payload - which includes Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), electro-optical surveillance equipment, Infra-Red sensors etc., not just a high-def camera.

Payload of equipment like the SAR radar itself weigh some ~80kg themselves, and the all-up payload of Rustom-II should be around 180-200kg I think, I'm not sure as I'm not referencing anything right now. This payload capacity could increase further after it gets the indigenous 200hp engines and is tasked to carry ATGMs like Helina onboard.

There is no way a small UAV can carry these kind of payloads, so yeah, a bigger UAV is needed. We could have gone for a single, push-propeller type engine but we went for twin-props on either side of the main body...well, that's something new for DRDO there, considering the original Rustom-I and even the Searchers and Herons IAF uses all have push-propeller configurations.

Anonymous said...

Let the big bird Rustom-II fly, then they will think about miniaturization and other sophistication. Indian scientists will learn a great deal after the first test flight data comes in. Take your time, but let the first flight be a successful one.

ranjan thakur said...

abe drdo kab tak bache ki jann lega kab uav ka first flight karega

Anonymous said...

If Rustom himself was alive today this project would not have taken so long to complete.Everything must be done, and nothing left to chance, to make the first flight successful.