According to information provided by DRDO in its Annual Report for 2017, Two Prototypes of 180 hp Diesel turboprop engine were developed in 2017 and were tested for the first time in 2017. First and Second Prototype of the Indigenous Diesel engines have accumulated 30 hours of full performance test at Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE) located in Avadi, in Chennai, India.

Indigenous 180 hp Diesel turboprop engine is suitable for small aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and will replace imported Saturn 36T turboprop engines procured from Russia to power Rustom-2 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

According to Industrial sources close to, Indigenous 180 hp Diesel turboprop engine main advantage is low weight, better fuel efficiency and is specifically designed for the category of ultra-light manned and unmanned aerial vehicles like MALE Class drones. New Diesel turboprop engine is designed for use in both push and pull configurations and is likely to be used on other programs also.

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DRDO report mentions it as Diesel automotive conversion engine which means that this a turboprop engine which is specifically modified for aviation from a modern automotive diesel engine which is easily available from the market. It is still not clear which Diesel automotive conversion engine was used as the base nor any details were provided if the automotive conversion engine was based on in-house design or procured from local Automobile engine manufacturers in the country.’s consulting Defence Analysts Ranesh Rajan says ” Usage of Diesel automotive conversion engine is quite common these days due to latest in automotive diesel technology which makes them extremely low drag design to be used successfully even to power a small ultralight aircraft or an unmanned aircraft “.

Rajan also explained that ” Benefits of this engine are that it burns regular Diesel, which is cheaper and more readily available than high-grade aviation fuel used in turboprop engines developed from scratch for Aviation usage ” other advantages are ” They are cheaper to manufacture, easily available and are extremely quiet and smooth and are highly fuel efficient and much more environmentally friendly “.


Rustom-2 is a 9.5 m-long medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a wingspan of 20.6 m and can carry 350kgs payload to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

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