UAV development hits roadblock

Incidentally, the crash occurred on the UAV’s maiden flight after the operators failed to gauge the height of coconut trees in the vicinity. “It misjudged the height of coconut trees and crashed after hitting the trees,” said a DRDO official.

The UAV was the technology demonstrator (TD) of Rustom, developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), under DRDO.

Deccan Herald had reported on Monday that the UAV which had crashed was the TD of Rustom, being tested by DRDO.

After the Rustom UAV took off from Taneja Aerospace Airfield near Hosur, it misjudged the altitude of the flight. Once the flaw was known to the ground engineers, they switched off the engine, allowing the onboard thrust developed to go to zero. A release issued by DRDO confirmed that the first flight of the Rustom TD took place from the Taneja airfield and the taxing and take off was exactly as planned.

“Due to misjudgment of the altitude of the flight, the on-board engine was switched off through ground command which made the onboard thrust developed to go to zero,” the release stated.

DRDO also said that it was the first flight of its kind using a 700-kg airframe and sophisticated controls and hence prone to development hazards. The trials are being conducted to test the functioning of number of systems such as aerodynamics, redundant flight control, engine, redundant data link etc which go a long way towards development of complex UAVs.

Named after the late professor Rustom Damania, the UAV was India’s answer to Israeli medium altitude long-range UAV Herons which the armed forces buy.

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