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Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has recently revamped its website, and eagle-eyed aviation enthusiasts have spotted a significant update: a new render of the Combat Air Teaming System (CATS) Warrior UCAV. This updated image reveals a sleeker, more lethal Warrior, sporting several key changes that hint at the evolving capabilities of this ambitious Indian drone project.

Gone are the single air intakes of the previous CATS Warrior design, that now sports a split intake design. The new render boasts of twin PTAE-7 turbojet engines, a substantial upgrade that HAL Claims will come with increased thrust, speed, and overall operational range.

The new CATS Warrior render also showcases a revamped weapons loadout. Three Smart Anti-Airfield Weapons (SAAW) now adorn the UCAV’s underbelly, marking a significant increase in its Ground-Strike capabilities. Additionally, a single Next Generation Close Combat Missile (NGCCM) is visible, highlighting the Warrior’s potential to engage in close-quarters aerial combat.

A Loyal Wingman in the Making:

The CATS Warrior is envisioned as a loyal wingman for manned fighter aircraft like the HAL Tejas. It’s designed to operate autonomously, providing crucial support in various missions, including:

  • Electronic warfare and suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD)
  • Reconnaissance and intelligence gathering
  • Strike missions against ground and aerial targets
  • Escorting and protecting manned fighter aircraft

While the revamped website offers a glimpse into the future of CATS Warrior, the project is still under development. HAL is currently focusing on testing the platform’s subsystems and technologies. The first flight of the CATS Warrior prototype is expected in 2024, with induction into the Indian Air Force likely by the late 2020s.

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