Rustom-2, the Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) being developed my the DRDO, is scheduled to make its first flight in February 2014, said the Defence Minister in Parliament today. He also said that development of other UAVs are included in 12th Plan proposal.
Designing of Rustom-2 is complete and purchase orders have been placed, ADE Director P S Krishnan had told press in Feb this year during two-day international Conference on Autonomous Unmanned Vehicles. 10 Rustom-2 UAVs and spare vehicles is scheduled to be completed by August 2017. The UAV is budgeted to weigh 1.8 tonnes with a payload of 350 kg. It is designed to acquire a wing span of 21-odd meters and an endurance of above 24 hours.
The Rustom-1 UAV has already made its 5th test flight in November 2011. This UAV has the potential military missions like Reconnaissance & Surveillance, Target Acquisition, Target Designation, Communications Relay, Battle Damage Assessment and Signal Intelligence.
The UAV can attain a maximum speed of 150 Knots, 22,000 ft of altitude and endurance of 12-15 Hours with an operating range of 250 Kms when fully developed.
Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) is responsible for the development of Rustom UAV. RUSTOM, named after Rustom Damania, who was instrumental in conceptualizing the idea. In 2009, ADE had said that the UAV will be in a flying stage in about 3 years. ADE has acquired about 4200 acres of land in Chitragurga district in Karnataka which is being developed for test range only for UAV.