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India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is making strides in developing a next-generation combat drone – the CATS Warrior. This loyal wingman program aims to provide the Indian Air Force (IAF) with a powerful unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed for seamless cooperation with manned fighter jets.

The CATS Warrior will boast a composite airframe, a key factor in maintaining its low observable characteristics – a critical aspect of modern aerial warfare. The airframe is constructed from advanced composite materials, ensuring the platform maintains low observable characteristics. This translates to a reduced radar signature, making it harder for enemy defenses to detect.

Private Sector company was involved in the manufacturing of the composite airframe and HAL was satisfied with the airframe supplied.

The CATS Warrior features a twin-engine PTAE-7 jet design, offering robust performance and extended range. This configuration enables it to effectively accompany manned fighters on long-range missions, providing essential support and firepower.

The drone is not just a silent observer; it’s equipped with weapons bays located on its underbelly. This offensive capability allows the CATS Warrior to engage targets directly, taking the pressure off manned aircraft and potentially altering combat dynamics.

HAL has already begun testing the CATS Warrior concept using scale models. These initial trials provide valuable data on the drone’s flight characteristics and pave the way for the development of a full-scale prototype.

The program is expected to progress rapidly, with anticipated full-scale model trials commencing by 2025-2026. This timeline suggests that the CATS Warrior could become a reality for the IAF in the near future.

The CATS Warrior program signifies India’s commitment to developing cutting-edge unmanned aerial systems. This loyal wingman has the potential to transform aerial combat strategies and empower the IAF with a significant tactical advantage.

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