Despite being one of the largest if not THE largest customer of military purchases in the world, the Indian military-industrial complex has been hard at work at developing internal solutions to promote a more self-reliant Indian military inventory. Origins of the program date back to initiatives undertaken in the s and s which have since resulted in a flyable prototype achieving first flight on November 11th, The Rustom-I will feature a contained mission endurance window of 12 hours while the Rustom-H is said to double that value as well as fly at higher altitudes. Outwardly, the Rustom prototype shares an appearance not unlike a Burt Rutan light aircraft design. It sports a three-legged, fixed undercarriage, rear-mounted main wing appendages and a canard wing assembly at front.
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Since , however, a heavier model called the Rustom II was being groomed for an offensive role. The necessity for local drone production is an urgent one since the state is battling terrorist groups and threats from within and without.
The result is the propeller-driven Rustom II. With the dimensions of a small turbo-prop plane, including a 70 foot wingspan, the Rustom is deployed from either runways or airstrips. With two horsepower engines—sources claim Russian or European origin—the Rustom II soars to a maximum ceiling of 35, feet, with mission altitude at 40, ft. On paper, the Rustom II manages an impressive 35 hours of operational flying time. It can reportedly lift more than pounds of cargo. Its layout is conventional.
The Rustom II uses tricycle pattern retractable landing gear, although the frontal gear appears inconveniently close to the FLIR camera. HAL who could handle the avionics and possible armaments. In this partnership was scrapped to create opportunities for other industry players in local defense and aerospace. More trouble roiled the Rustom II program in when lack of access to critical components, like engines and sensors, delayed its flight testing.
At present, the Rustom II has just finished its pre-flight trials in early Exactly how Rustom II carries, flies, and launches its weapons have yet to be determined. But its potential as an armed UAV is beyond doubt.
The agency will also follow up issues related to infrastructure and expertise for the product and its support, thereby overcoming time delays in crucial projects. There will be three variants of the Rustom UAV. Currently, negotiations are underway between these companies and the three Indian armed forces since the private majors are looking for support and commitment from them before they start executing any development and production plans. This is because of the fact that the chosen PADP will also have a financial stake in the Rustom project.
The Drone Index: DRDO Rustom II
Since , however, a heavier model called the Rustom II was being groomed for an offensive role. The necessity for local drone production is an urgent one since the state is battling terrorist groups and threats from within and without. The result is the propeller-driven Rustom II. With the dimensions of a small turbo-prop plane, including a 70 foot wingspan, the Rustom is deployed from either runways or airstrips.