New drone will be for surveillance only: DRDO chief

Bengaluru, Nov 20 (IANS) The new unmanned aerial vehicle that the DRDO has developed and flight tested recently, would be for surveillance and not combat, said a senior official on Sunday.

“The new UAV, re-christened Tapas from Rustom-2, has been developed for surveillance and not for combat purpose,” Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Chairman S. Christopher told reporters here.

The maiden flight of the Tactical Air-Borne Platform-Beyond Horizon (Tapas-BH 201) prototype was held on November 16 at the DRDO’s new aeronautical testing range at Challakere near Chitradurga in Karnataka.

“We have to make 10 Tapas aircraft for a series of test flights before applying for certification and demonstrating it to the armed forces its surveillance capability in user trials,” said Christopher.

The Rs 1,500-crore project for the indigenous medium altitude long endurance drone is meant to replace the Israeli-made Heron UAVs, which are in service with the armed forces.