What you’re looking at here are the first ever manifestations of what India’s UCAV, codenamed AURA, could look like. These are images from an official presentation (see slide) by India’s Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) director PS Krishnan, outlining AURA (Autonomous Unmanned Research Aircraft), a programme that was nameless and obscure in the public domain before it was reported on here on LiveFist and on Headlines Today. As you can see from the slide, the ADE describes the AURA as a “self defending” high speed reconnaisance UAV with a “weapon firing capability”, which seems a typically laboured way of describing the obvious. With the programme still in its project definition stage, the images used in the slide above are likely just representative (the tacky flag-on-underbelly routine a-la Lockheed Nighthawk with stars and stripes), though it’s a definite indication of how the programme’s scientists are thinking. It’s all fully 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 and a turbofan engine.
Tomorrow: Part II — The Rustom-H MALE UAV Detailed