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The development of India’s highly anticipated Archer-NG Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has encountered a setback due to funding constraints. This news comes nearly a year after the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) showcased the Archer-NG in late 2022.

The Archer-NG envisioned as an armed drone with a 300 kg payload capacity for weapons like smart anti-airfield munitions and anti-tank guided missiles, offered significant advancements. Its design, featuring a Single Engine Twin Boom configuration, differed from the Tapas UAV but employed similar equipment.

The ADE was poised to secure fresh funds to initiate ordering crucial structures for the Archer-NG. However, this has been stalled by a program review triggered by the Tapas UAV’s shortcomings. Notably, the Tapas failed to meet the Indian Armed Forces’ requirements for endurance and cruising altitude.

Sources within the idrw team report that the Archer-NG’s design is finalized. However, the project’s progress hinges on the allocation of fresh funds, which in turn seems to be linked to the performance of the Tapas UAV. Currently, the Tapas is undergoing modifications to reduce drag and weight, aiming to achieve the desired operational capabilities.

This situation suggests that the Archer-NG’s future might be tied to the success of the Tapas’ ongoing improvements. If the Tapas program achieves the necessary advancements, it could pave the way for funding approval and the commencement of the Archer-NG’s tendering process.

The delay in the Archer-NG program is a setback for India’s aspirations in the MALE UAV domain. The program’s future trajectory remains uncertain, hinging on the outcome of the Tapas’ modifications and the subsequent funding decisions by the authorities.

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