Friday, June 04, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Rustom MALE UAV Programme Up For Cabinet Approval

India's Rustom medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV will be a Rs 1,500-crore project and has now reached the government's apex Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for final financial approval. The technology demonstrator part of the project, which ended with an unfortunate first flight crash last November, cost the project Rs 49-crore, and included a scaled down demonstrator vehicle (Rustom-1), which had an endurance of just 4 hours. The next two prototypes, designated Rustom-H (the first of which was displayed for the first time at AeroIndia 2009 -- see photo), will be able to cruise at 35,000-feet with an endurance of 24-hours. Both new prototypes are currently under fabrication and the first of them is scheduled for a test-flight by the end of this year.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Instead of experimenting with expensive UAVs, why don't we develop high altitude balloons, equipped with ultralight sensors and cameras, which can stay stationary over a target for days undetectable?? Such balloons will be beyond the range of radars and missiles.Helium/Hydrogen filled balloons require nil fuel and solar powered batteries can power the propulsion/steering system/sensors etc.Anybody from DRDO or other similar outfits who can throw light on this aspect?

Anonymous said...

HI,
DO you have any idea when M-MRCA deal will fix ? Cant wait more.

Anonymous said...

What ever may be the reason, government should go ahead with the rustom development. If you don't start you are not going to reach there.

We have the patience to wait for some more time for success.

RAT said...

A Balloon is a good idea it is only after the enemys air defence is nuteralised it can be used for support of ground forces whereas a UAV can get detailed information from loger distance and also get out much quickly if detected it is controlled from ground it is smaller faster than a balloon.

AK said...

This should be the number one priority for MoD. Next generation planes will be the UAVs so it's better we get started now. Otherwise as usual we will be late for the show and begging for imports.

Anonymous said...

@RAT

The weather balloons reach almost Low Earth Orbit i.e. the same level where satellites are stationed. AT such levels no enemy AC or missile can reach the balloons. Plus, as these balloons don't have any metallic parts, they cannot be detected with radar. They may not be large enough to be detected by spy satellites. It will be difficult to observe from ground as these balloons are made out of transparent material.
A UAV can loiter for 48 hrs max without refueling, whereas high altitude balloons don't need any fuel. Whatever power they need can be generated thru solar cells.These balloons can remain on top of enemy sites indefinitely without detection. Even if they are detected it will be very difficult to reach them. Even if they are obliterated, they are far cheaper than the missiles that will be used to bring them down.
UAVs are slow metallic objects which are literally sitting ducks. This fact can be vouched by the Pakis shooting down our Israeli UAVs.
How feasible is this idea of using high altitude balloons as UAVs or spy satellites?

COOLGEEK said...

ITS AN ABSOLUTE CRIME THAT WE WENT FOR THESE FIT FOR NOTHING GOVT COMPANIES AGAIN... THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO THE PRIVATE PLAYERS... CLASSIC EXAMPLE THAT WE WILL NEVER IMPROVE...

Anonymous said...

coolgeek, you are neither cool nor coherent. Make some sense next time and post when you are not under the influence of alcohol

Gautm said...

If you ask me the MoD made a poor decision by choosing the HAL-BEL proposal for Rustom over the various private-sector ones.

Yes, I know they have the most experience in aircraft and avionics design(obviously) but they already have an extensive range of activities in various fields ongoing for the armed forces' needs. The IAF should have taken the chance to diversify their suppliers and cultivate the Indian private sector defence industry by awarding some contracts to them. The know-how they would gain in the project would have been an excellent start-up to help them attain competency in the defence sphere.