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In a significant development in India’s defence capabilities, the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a laboratory of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), is gearing up to conduct weapons trials for the Short Range-Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-Weaponized (SR-UAV-W), also known as Archer. This cutting-edge UAV has already completed all ground trials and carriage trials, and the upcoming weapons trials are expected to mark a crucial milestone in its operational readiness.

The Archer UAV, equipped with state-of-the-art technology, is designed to cater to a variety of military requirements, including intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, tracking, and reconnaissance (ISTAR). With its ability to gather real-time and high-quality imagery, the Archer is a potent tool for enhancing situational awareness and battlefield intelligence.

One of the key features of Archer is its impressive operational capabilities. It can operate at altitudes of up to 22,000 feet and maintain an endurance of up to 12 hours, making it suitable for long-duration missions. The UAV also carries an advanced Electro-Optical and Infrared (EO/IR) payload, enabling it to effectively identify and track targets even in challenging conditions.

The development of Archer represents a remarkable journey for this UAV, formerly known as Rustom-I, which served as a Technological Demonstrator for the larger Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Tapas UAV program. Having completed its developmental trials, the Tapas UAV is now poised for user trials. The Indian Armed Forces have a combined requirement of around 97 units for the Tapas UAV, highlighting the significance of these indigenous developments in bolstering India’s defence capabilities.

What sets Archer apart is its versatility and compatibility with the Ground Control Station developed for the Tapas UAV program. This strategic integration eliminates the need for two separate Ground Control Stations, streamlining operations and enhancing efficiency.

As the Archer UAV enters its weapons trials phase in the coming weeks, it is expected to demonstrate its ability to carry out precision strikes and engage targets effectively. The success of these trials will further establish India’s prowess in the development of advanced UAV technologies.

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