UAV Current Affairs

US Approves Sale of UAV Technology to India

The United States has cleared the sale of the state-of-the-art Guardian 22 unmanned Guardian drones to India. The deal to sell UAV drones to India is estimated to be worth $2 to $3 billion. Though the deal has been approved by the State Department, an official announcement regarding the deal is yet to be announced.

Significance

The transfer of the state-of-the-art UAV technology to India will be the first significant progress after India’s entry into the exclusive Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and after the US has designated India as a major defence partner. India became the 35th full member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2016.

The transfer of Guardian UAV technology is aimed at furthering mutual security interests to protect the Indian Ocean.

The deal would also pave the way for the transfer of other key technology sales from the US to India. The Guardian unmanned aircraft has been classified as Category 1 aircraft with cutting edge technologies.

Background

Last year, the Indian Navy had requested for this intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform. The US has designated India as a “major defence partner” under the Obama Administration. The US considers India as a key player to counter the Chinese threat. However, the Guardian UAV proposal was kept in abeyance under Obama administration.

UAVs operate without a human pilot. UAVs are commonly used in both the military and police forces in situations where the risk of sending a human piloted aircraft is unacceptable, or the situation makes using a manned aircraft impractical.

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India’s combat-capable Rustom-II drone successfully completes maiden test flight

India’s indigenously developed long-endurance combat-capable drone, Rustom-II (TAPAS 201) successfully completed its maiden-flight.

The test flight took place from Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), Chitradurga, Karnataka, which is a newly developed flight test range for the testing of UAVs and manned aircraft.

During the test, TAPAS 201 accomplished the main objectives of proving the flying platform, such as take-off, bank, level flight and landing among others.

Key Facts

  • RUSTOM–II is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV. The UAV weighs two tonnes. It has an endurance of 24 hours.
  • It is multi-mission UAV which can conduct Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions for the armed forces. It can also be used as an unmanned armed combat.
  • It is capable to carry different combinations of payloads like Medium Range Electro Optic (MREO), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Long Range Electro Optic (LREO).
  • It can also carry Electronic Intelligence (ELINT), Communication Intelligence (COMINT) and Situational Awareness Payloads (SAP) to perform missions during day and night.
  • It has been designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), the Bangalore-based lab of DRDO. HAL and BEL are the production partners.
  • Rustom-II (TAPAS 201) is also first R&D prototype UAV which has undergone certification and qualification for the first flight from Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC) and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA).

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