UAV Technology Current Affairs
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Indigenously developed Rustom-II Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will be delivered to armed forces by 2020 as per the contract. At present, its basic system is being perfected and attempts are being made to increase its flight altitude. Its manufacturing will be done by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and Bharat Electronics Ltd.
Rustom-II is part of Rustom line of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) indigenously designed and developed by DRDO that includes Rustom-I, Rustom-H and Rustom-C. It is being developed for use of all three services of Indian Armed Forces, primarily for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations.
It is a long-endurance UAV that has an 20 hours approximate flight time. Its medium-altitude prototype can fly at over 22,000 feet. It is propelled by two 3-bladed NPO saturn engines (each producing over 450 kg-force thrust). It stands 2.4m tall with wingspan of 20.6m and length of 9.5m. It can fly at around 280 km/h.
Several critical systems and components of Rustom-II, like its airframe, flight control, avionics sub-systems, landing gear etc, have been made indigenously and some in collaboration with private manufacturers.
Rustom-II can carry variety of payloads like Long Range Electro Optic (LREO), Medium Range Electro Optic (MREO), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Communication Intelligence (COMINT), Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) and Situational Awareness Payloads (SAP) that help in performing missions even during the night.
The Union Government has constituted 13-member task force to prepare road map and fast-track implementation of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology or drones in the country. It will be headed by Minister of State (MoS) for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha and will have representatives from government, PSUs, industry and sectoral experts.
Terms of Reference of Task Force
The task force will prepare roadmap, including outcomes, timelines, implementation and review mechanism and measurable metrics for implementation of UAV technology. Its road map will focus on Research & Development (R&D), acquisition and commercialisation, application and adoption in specific sectors, regulatory framework as well as preference for Make in India. It will lay down implementable recommendations for central and state governments, industry and research institutions. It will clearly delineate the role of industry. It will submit its report in six months. It will study global practices and interact with relevant stakeholders, as required, for preparation of its report. It will also have necessary consultations and interactions with Government organizations, industry and research institutions.