India made the first flight of the “Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator” on Friday, an important step in the development of the nation’s aspirations for a fully functional stealth warfare drone.
From the Aeronautical Test Range in Chitradurga, Karnataka, the demonstrator’s test, also known as the “Stealth Wing Flying Testbed” (SWiFT), was completed successfully.
The demonstrator has a similar “flying wing” shape and resembles a miniature US B-2 stealth bomber. As a result, it can carry more fuel and stay in the air for longer. Additionally, the aircraft’s radar signature is reduced.
The aircraft demonstrated flawless flying, including takeoff, way-point navigation, and a soft touchdown while operating in a fully autonomous mode, according to the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
“This flight marks a major milestone in terms of proving critical technologies towards the development of future unmanned aircraft and is a significant step towards self-reliance in such crucial defence technology,” the DRDO continued.
The duration of the flight was not confirmed.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) design and development are handled by Bengaluru’s Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a research facility run by DRDO.
This technology demonstrator is a step toward India’s ultimate goal of developing an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) that can perform surveillance and tactical activities like dropping bombs and missiles.
A tiny Russian turbofan engine powers the technology demonstration.
According to DRDO authorities, the complete flight control and avionics system, as well as the airframe and undercarriage, were built domestically.
The first flight was a significant accomplishment for autonomous aircraft, according to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and it would pave the way for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” in terms of essential military equipment.
According to sources, this demonstrator would evaluate every piece of technology that had been brought in to see if it was up to the task.
Before moving on to the main project, which would have a larger design and greater capabilities, they stated that more testing will be conducted on the technology demonstrator.
Additionally, they claimed that the demonstration will show off the available capability to the final user, the armed forces.
According to sources, the project’s success would depend on the quality standards advanced by the end user and the penalties imposed by the government.