DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) will hand over the final designs of the Tapas BH-201 medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited next month after which it will commence production of the first 5 airframes for the Tapas BH-201 that will be exclusively be used for user trials as the program is nearing completion of the developmental trials.

ADE claims that flight control systems, avionics, and data-linked systems for the first Tapas BH-201 are already procured and orders have been placed with the Austro Engine GmbH for its 180 HP Austro E4 engine that will be used to power them initially. DRDO’s Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE) is also developing an uprated 220 hp Diesel turboprop engine with Jayem Automotives Pvt Ltd that will be used in the production variant.

Tapas BH-201 demonstrated its flight altitude above 28000 feet with an endurance of 18 hours recently but the requirement set by the armed forces was of altitude of 30000 ft, with the endurance of 24 hrs that ADE plans to pursue at later stages since the Armed forces are satisfied with Tapas BH-201 meeting most of its requirements.

The combined armed force requirement for the Tapas BH-201 will be 76 units out of which bulk of which will be procured by the Army (60) followed by the Airforce (12) and Navy (4). ADE claims the production variant of the Tapas BH-201 will be cheaper by 8 times when compared to similar systems and will have 75% of Made in India systems and components in it.

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