DRDO lab preps for tests of upgraded cruise missile, UAV

By The Week

The Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) is warming up to undertake a series of missions in the year 2021, leaving behind the uncertainties of a pandemic year that also saw minor setbacks.

ADE, which celebrated its 62nd Raising Day recently, has been given the mandate of developing variants of subsonic missiles and unmanned platforms. According to sources, ADE scientists are now gearing up for the second test of the Nirbhay variant—the Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile (ITCM).

The ITCM-02 with the Small Turbo Fan Engine (STFE) will undertake another flight trial in the next few months. The first mission of ICTM with STFE wasn’t a complete success. ADE is also poised to hand over the first full mission simulator (FMS) for Light Combat Aircraft Tejas to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

IAF test pilots have been using the FMS at ADE facilities for some years now, and based on their feedback, ADE made several upgradations to its systems.

Sources said that the FMS from ADE requires minimum maintenance and offers long and realistic flight training options on ground for squadron pilots.

A new facility has been earmarked for housing FMS systems, which is likely to be inaugurated this year.


On the unmanned front, the scientists are burning the midnight oil to meet the IAF requirements for Rustom-II (Tapas), the medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

More flight trials of Rustom-II this year aim to prove various endurance, range and altitude requirements set by user.

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