You dont have javascript enabled! Please enable it!


The Indian Air Force (IAF) has extended a conditional olive branch to the troubled Tapas program, offering to reconsider its procurement if the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) can address critical performance issues.

The Tapas, envisioned as a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), has fallen short of expectations in crucial areas. It fails to meet the IAF’s requirements of a 30,000-foot operating altitude and a 24-hour endurance. This shortfall has led the IAF to walk away, leaving the program’s future uncertain.

Undeterred, DRDO is undertaking a two-pronged approach to salvage the Tapas:

  • Drag Reduction Measures: Implementing significant drag reduction measures aims to enhance the UAV’s ability to reach higher altitudes.
  • Certification for Indian Navy: DRDO is pursuing certification for the Tapas in its current form, potentially opening the door for deployment with the Indian Navy.

While these steps demonstrate DRDO’s commitment, challenges persist:

  • Timeframe: The drag reduction and weight reduction measures are expected to take nearly two years before the Tapas is ready for renewed user trials.
  • Meeting IAF Requirements: It remains unclear if these measures will be sufficient to meet the IAF’s stringent altitude and endurance demands.

The IAF’s conditional offer presents a crucial opportunity for the Tapas program. However, DRDO faces an uphill battle to convince the IAF of its viability. The next two years will be critical, with successful implementation of drag reduction measures and certification for the Indian Navy acting as stepping stones towards potential IAF re-engagement.