AURA or Ghatak is categorically the least known project of DRDO. The project is kept under a cloak of secrecy since its inception & the details are known to very few people with the highest level of security clearance.
It is a tactical unmanned aerial vehicle with stealth technologies, built largely of composites, capable of delivering laser guided bombs (LGBs) without being detected. It is classified as MALE (Medium altitude long endurance). Ghatak will be a flying wing design much like the Sentinel UCAV (Beast of Kandahar).
The UCAV will be capable of releasing missiles, bombs and precision-guided munitions. The programme is in its project definition stage. The design is in line with what former DRDO chief controller for Aeronautics said in 2007, that India’s combat drone would be a stealthy flying-wing concept aircraft with internal weapons bay and a turbofan engine.The UCAV’s design is similar to Northrop Grumman’s B-2 Spirit.
What is Need/Purpose of AURA?
The purpose of the DRDO is to provide the Indian Air force with an option to deliver the payloads to enemy location without endangering the life of the pilot . This will act along side with the HAL AMCA , the 5thGenerations of fighter aircrafts that will start showing up on the IAF inventory towards the end of this decade or start of the next. The AURA program is also meant to compete with the other programs to provide the IAF with the best technically advanced UCAV which will form the backbone of the airforce in the next decade .
AURA will also be able to carry weapons in internal storage which will allow air force to operate them in contested access or denied enemy airspace. ADA is currently collaborating with various Universities to prepare basic technological developments before the project goes official.
2010: Its existence was revealed to Public domain a decade ago as IUSA (Indian Unmanned Strike Aircraft) when DRDO acknowledged the presence of such a project.