Drone Technology Current Affairs

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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Facebook’s Internet drone Aquila passes first full-scale test

Social networking giant Facebook’s Internet drone named ‘Aquila’ has passed first full-scale test. This was the first time using the full-scale drone.

The flight test was undertaken in Yuma, Arizona (US) and was only meant to last for 30 minutes. But the test went so well that the plane was kept flying for up for 96 minutes.

About Aquila

  • Aquila is solar solar-powered internet drone being designed to beam the Internet service to remote areas of the world. It is developed by Facebook’s Connectivity Lab.
  • It is made of a carbon fiber composite body and weighs less than 1,000 pounds.
  • Its communications payload uses lasers to transfer data. The lasers will be able to aim its internet beams accurately enough to hit target (base station) while it is in motion.
  • The drone is in some ways is self-piloting but relies on a ground crew who direct, maintain, and monitor the aircraft.
  • The ground crew controls the drone through software that allows them to determine altitude, heading and air speed, or even send a GPS-based route.
  • The solar-powered drone has been designed in such a way that it will be able to fly without landing for three months at a time.
  • It will operate between 18km and 27km above the altitude of commercial airplanes in the Stratosphere so it would not be affected by weather.

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