Connect with us


India inches closer towards developing stealth combat drones



India inches closer towards developing stealth combat drones

NEW DELHI: India on Friday inched closer towards developing indigenous stealth combat drones capable of firing missiles and dropping bombs — a platform that will boost the military’s capabilities, with the defence ministry announcing that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) carried out a successful flight trial of the autonomous flying wing technology demonstrator from the Aeronautical Test Range at Chitradurga in Karnataka.

The system that was flight-tested is also known as the stealth wing technology demonstrator or SWiFT.

“With this flight in the tailless configuration, India has joined an elite club of countries that have mastered the controls for the flying wing technology,” the defence ministry said in a statement. The successful flying demonstration of this autonomous stealth unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is a testimony to the maturity in the technology readiness levels in the country, it said.

The UAV, whose maiden flight took place in July 2022, has been designed and developed by DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment. The 2022 flight was followed by six flight trials in various developmental configurations using two locally manufactured prototypes.

“These flight-tests led to achievements in development of robust aerodynamic and control systems, integrated real-time and hardware-in-loop simulation, and state-of-the-art ground control station. The team had optimised the avionic systems, integration and flight operations towards the successful seventh flight in the final configuration,” the statement said.

The latest test is a significant milestone on the path to developing indigenous stealth unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs), said Air Marshal Anil Chopra (retd), director general, Centre for Air Power Studies. “It will greatly enhance the operational capabilities of the armed forces. This could also be helpful in the manned-unmanned teaming of IAF’s platforms,” Chopra added.

The SWiFT prototype, with a complex arrowhead wing platform, has been designed and manufactured with lightweight composite materials developed indigenously.

The composite structure, with technology for health monitoring, showcases “Aatmanirbharta” or self-reliance in aerospace technology, the statement said. “The autonomous landing of this high-speed UAV, without the need for ground radars/infrastructure/pilot, showcased a unique capability, allowing take-off and landing from any runway with surveyed coordinates.”

This was possible using onboard sensor data fusion with indigenous satellite-based augmentation through GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) receivers to improve the accuracy and integrity of GPS navigation.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh complimented DRDO, the armed forces and the industry for the successful flight trial of the system. He said the successful development of such critical technologies indigenously would further strengthen the armed forces.

DRDO chief Samir V Kamat also congratulated DRDO and the teams associated with the flight trial.

The armed forces will also induct in the next three to four years the MQ-9B remotely piloted aircraft systems to be imported from the US. The acquisition of these drones, in a government-to-government deal estimated to be worth $3 billion, will significantly boost the Indian military’s strength as the versatile platform has the capability to strike targets with its on-board weapons, it can carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and its other roles include electronic warfare, defensive counter air and airborne early warning.

India is pursuing a deal to buy 31 drones — 15 for the navy, and eight each for the army and the Indian Air Force.

Article source:

Continue Reading