Step towards Self-Reliance in Defence Technologies: DRDO

DRDO successfully conducted the maiden flight of an unmanned aircraft demonstrator.

India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) carried out the maiden flight of the ‘Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator’. The test of the demonstrator, also known as the ‘Stealth Wing Flying Testbed’ (SWiFT), was successfully conducted from the Aeronautical Test Range, Chitradurga, Karnataka.

An official statement was released stating, “Operating in a fully autonomous mode, the aircraft exhibited a perfect flight, including take-off, waypoint navigation, and a smooth touchdown. This flight marks a major milestone in terms of proving critical technologies for the development of future unmanned aircraft and is a significant step towards self-reliance in such strategic defence technologies.”

The vehicle is developed and designed by Aeronautical Development Establishment. The unmanned aerial vehicle is powered by a small turbofan engine. The undercarriage, entire flight control, airframe, and avionics systems used in the aircraft were developed in the country itself.  

This enables it to carry more fuel and remain in the air for a longer duration. It also gives the aircraft less radar signature.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said the aircraft exhibited a perfect flight, including take-off, way-point navigation and a smooth touchdown while operating in a fully autonomous mode.

The DRDO added: “This flight marks a major milestone in terms of proving critical technologies towards the development of future unmanned aircraft and is a significant step towards self-reliance in such strategic defence technologies.”

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated and said that this will pace the country’s self-reliance in critical military systems. He said, ” It is a major achievement towards autonomous aircraft and will pave the way for ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ in terms of critical military systems,” 

The technology demonstrator is powered by a small Russian turbofan engine. It could be instrumental in public services like defence, agriculture, healthcare, and infrastructure maintenance.

This technology demonstrator will play a big role in India’s eventual plan to build an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) which will be capable of reconnaissance and will also carry out tactical actions like dropping both missiles and bombs.

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