FIRST LOOK: Wheeled Variant Of India's Nishant Drone Takes Off

Panchi, the wheeled variant of India's first operational home-built surveillance drone Nishant, took off for the first time today on a 20 minute sortie. The platform has taken its time. The Panchi was unveiled for the first time in Feb 2009, and a photograph of the Panchi, still designated Nishant at the time was seen on a tarmac in 2010.

DRDO statement: Panchi, the wheeled version of UAV Nishant capable of taking-off and landing using small airstrips had its maiden flight lasting about 20 minutes. Today’s flight was preceded by a series of high speed taxi trials. Dr Avinash Chander, SA to RM, Secretary. Deptt. of Defence R&D & DG DRDO congratulated the team for the success. The UAV Panchi has all the surveillance capabilities of UAV Nishant. However, it will have longer endurance as it does not have to carry the air bags and parachute system as in the case of UAV Nishant. Dr K Tamilmani, DS and DG Aeronautical Systems said, “Aggressive efforts by the ADE (Aeronautical Development Establishment) team during the past 8 months in creating this version are commendable”.

The conventional Nishant Unmanned Aerial Vehicle already inducted in Army is a multi-mission UAV with Day/Night operational capability, launched from an all-terrain hydro-pneumatic launcher and is recovered with the help of on board parachute system and an underbelly airbag. It is designed for battlefield surveillance and reconnaissance, target tracking & localization, and artillery fire correction. The electro-optic payloads are mounted on a stabilized steerable platform. A sophisticated image processing system is used for analyzing the images transmitted from the UAV. The aircraft has a jam resistant command link and digital down link for transmission of imagery. The air vehicle has autonomous flight capabilities and is controlled from a user friendly Ground Control Station.

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