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The Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) is gearing up to unleash a formidable array of Made In India weapon systems on its latest creation, the Armed Archer-NG Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The Archer-NG, set to roll out later this year, is lined up to be equipped with a diverse range of weapon systems to make it a potent combat UAV, capable of tackling a variety of missions.

The Armed Archer-NG is designed to carry a payload of up to 300kg with its four hard points, providing the flexibility to integrate different combinations of weapon systems. One of the key weapons in the arsenal of the Archer-NG is the Third Generation “Fire & Forget” UAV Launched Precision Guided Munition (ULPGM) Anti-Tank Guided Missile. With a range of 4km, this missile is capable of taking out soft-skin targets, vehicles, bunkers, tanks, windows, and fast-moving targets, making it a versatile and lethal tool on the battlefield. DRDO has also planned three more variants of this missile, with an extended range of over 6km, further enhancing its potency.

Another formidable system planned for the Archer-NG is the DRDO Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon, which weighs only 125kg but boasts an impressive range of 100km. This weapon is specifically designed to engage ground targets with high precision, ensuring that enemy airfields and critical infrastructure can be neutralized effectively.

In addition to precision-guided munitions, the Archer-NG will also be equipped with laser-guided rockets and bombs, further enhancing its capabilities in environments with limited air defence systems. These precision weapons enable the UAV to accurately engage targets and minimize collateral damage.

To expand its reach and versatility, the Archer-NG will also carry UAV-launched loitering munitions. These gliding munitions can cover distances of up to 100km after being launched from the UAV, allowing for extended missions and the ability to strike targets at greater ranges.

DRDO is not stopping there in its quest to bolster the Archer-NG’s capabilities. The organization plans to collaborate with private sector companies to develop a mini-cruise missile that can be launched from an armed UAV. This mini-cruise missile will be designed to take on highly defended targets from long standoff ranges, further enhancing the Archer-NG’s strike capabilities.

The integration and testing of these Made In India weapon systems on the Archer-NG will pave the way for a powerful and versatile combat UAV, ready to be offered to the Indian Tri-service. With its ability to carry out a wide range of missions and engage various targets with precision and lethality, the Armed Archer-NG MALE UAV is set to become a key asset in India’s defence arsenal, providing enhanced situational awareness and operational flexibility to the armed forces.

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