Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) with DRDO is organizing a Seminar On Autonomous Air Vehicles Technologies & Applications, an annual event jointly conducted by the Design Division of Aeronautical Society of India and Aeronautical Development Establishment (DRDO), Bangalore for the UAV community to share their knowledge and expertise but what became viral online was the CAD image that was used in the brochure for the event that had an uncanny resemblance to the Israeli develop Heron TP (Eitan) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that India has recently procured.

But ADE itself a few months ago had issued tenders for the development of the new MALE Class UAV that incorporates a double boom, twin-tail design (two longitudinal booms) rather than a single tail cone design that we have seen on Rustam-2. ADE was supposed to fabricate two prototypes that means it should be ready by mid or by late 2022.

ADE has been cleared to design and develop India’s first High-altitude long endurance (HALE) class UAV and this is what we noticed. The new HALE Class UAV features a high wing-monoplane design with a pusher engine that seems to have a satellite antenna integrated inside the fuselage and a smaller internal payload bay that provide more than adequate space for the installation of multiple payloads that may comprise electro-optical radar, and electronic surveillance missions.

New UAV will be bigger than the Rustam-I (720 AUW) and it can be argued that it is a 4-ton AUW (All Up Weight) Class UAV that will be put it above MALE Class Rustam-2 UAV (1.8 ton AUW) , while there seem to be quite a bit of design similarities with the Heron-TP but upon closer inspection, this new unmanned aerial vehicle sports winglets that are not seen on Heron-TP and the engine casing also seems to be different indicating it will have different engines, along with that it features submerged air intake, instead of standalone air intake seen on Heron-TP .

Rustam-2 UAV has a design flight ceiling of 35,000 feet but it has demonstrated only 25,000 feet but eventually it will demonstrate 30,000 feet, the bare minimum that will be acceptable by the Armed forces but new the UAV will likely get a new single high power Turbo Prop engine in range of 1,000-1,200 hp output that will be more powerful then twin engine Turbo Prop engine combined seen in the Rustam-2 that can take it even further higher and will be able to cruise at 40,000 to 45,000 feet that Rustam-2 technically isn’t designed to reach this level that could be one of the possible reasons why the development of this new UAV was taken up.

HAL is also working on HALE Class UAV of its own but with turbofan engine as the powerplant that will able to cruise above 50,000 feet

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