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India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has taken a significant step towards developing a next-generation Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) with the successful testing of its SWIFT TD (Stealth Wing Flying Testbed) demonstrator.

This 1-ton flying wing demonstrator serves as a critical test bed for validating the design principles of a much larger, 13-ton UCAV currently under development. This future UCAV envisioned as a potent stealthy strike aircraft, represents a major leap forward in India’s unmanned aerial combat capabilities.

The Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a premier DRDO laboratory, is leading the design of this program. Significantly, the design is not only feasible for the 13-ton UCAV but also possesses the potential for further scaling if needed. The learnings from the SWIFT TD will be crucial in informing the design of even larger manned or unmanned programs in the future.

The SWIFT TD’s successful flight test goes beyond simply validating the basic airworthiness of the design. This test flight allowed engineers to gather valuable data on the flying wing’s dynamic characteristics in real-world conditions. This information will be instrumental in refining the design for the larger UCAV.

The successful test flight of the SWIFT TD marks a critical milestone in India’s pursuit of advanced unmanned combat aerial vehicles. With its scalable design and focus on real-world flight dynamics, the SWIFT program paves the way for the development of a next-generation, potentially game-changing, stealthy UCAV for the Indian armed forces.

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