A recent media report had indicated that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) developed Combat Air Teaming System (CATS) Warrior, an autonomous wingman drone that will be either be powered by a PTAE-7 turbofan engine that is used on the Lakshya unmanned aircraft in twin configuration or by an HTFE-25 turbofan engine that is under development.

Present CATS Warrior will have an All-up take-off weight of 1.3 tons, while HTFE-25 is rated at 25kN of thrust that can be used to power a five-ton weight class aircraft in a single-engine configuration. HTFE-25 in the future might be used to power a 9-ton unmanned combat air vehicle which is under proposal but the development work is yet to be sanctioned as its might compete with DRDO/ADE’s developed Remote Piloted Strike Aircraft (RPSA) that will be powered by a 46kN Dry Kaveri engine.

PTAE-7 is a 3.43 kN single spool turbojet developed in the 1980s that weighs 65 kg but it was a short-life turbojet engine. HAL is working to increase its service life by working on an upgraded PTAE-7 turbojet engine that will be getting new turbine blades and an improved digital electronic fuel control system, hardened compressor sections, and most important things of all a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system to provide optimized performance and control that is expected from a modern turbojet engine.

CATS Warrior is likely to begin flight trials from 2024 onwards and has completed the wind tunnel testing and soon will start scale model testing.

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