The Rustom-II MALE UAV, which was built in India, is planned to fly for more than 18 hours at an altitude of 28,000 feet. (DRDO)
According to G Satheesh Reddy, chairwoman of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), India’s Rustom II medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can reach the required altitude of 28,000 ft.
“We’re looking at endurance now,” he added, adding that the DRDO hopes Rustom II to fly for more than 18 hours in a month while operating at a height of 28,000 feet.
Rustom-II has an overall length of 9.5 metres and a wingspan of 20.6 metres, according to Janes All the World’s Aircraft: Unmanned. Two Saturn 36T turboprop engines, each rated at 74.57 kW, power the aircraft (100 hp).
Rustom II, also known as TAPAS-BH-201 (Tactical Advanced Platform for Aerial Surveillance-Beyond Horizon-201), has a cruise speed of 135 kt and weighs 1,800 kg.
It can transport payloads of up to 350 kg. Electro-optic (EO) and infrared (IR) sensors, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and maritime patrol radars, communications relay, and electronic intelligence (ELINT) and communications intelligence (COMINT) packages are among the mission payloads, according to reports.
The DRDO showed Rustom II’s capacity to take off and land independently in November 2021, as well as its ability to use India’s satellite-based navigation system, GPS-aided GEO augmented navigation (GAGAN), which was jointly developed by ISRO and the Airports Authority of India (AAI).