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The Aeronautical Development Establishment’s (ADE) proposed development of the Armed Archer-NG MALE-Class UAV has been met with increased scrutiny from the Indian Armed Forces. The Armed Forces have set stringent benchmarks for the UAV, demanding that it achieves an operational altitude of over 30,000 feet, an endurance of 18 hours or more, and the capability to carry a payload of 300kg, including weapons.

These stringent requirements stem from the shortcomings of the previous Tapas program, ADE’s first attempt at developing a MALE-Class UAV. The Tapas program failed to meet several benchmarks, raising concerns about ADE’s capabilities in this domain.

The Armed Forces are adamant that the Archer-NG must demonstrate its ability to meet these benchmarks before it can be considered operationally viable for use in conflict zones. They emphasize that the UAV must be “all guns blazing” to be effective in real-world scenarios.

Given the Armed Forces’ combined requirement for over 150 MALE-Class UAVs and the Tapas program’s shortcomings, the Archer-NG’s success is crucial. Failure to meet the benchmarks could force India to rely on locally assembling imported MALE-Class UAVs, a step that would hinder indigenous development efforts.

The pressure is mounting on ADE to deliver a successful Archer-NG program. The UAV’s performance will determine India’s self-reliance in MALE-Class UAV capabilities and its ability to equip its armed forces with cutting-edge technology.

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