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India’s ambitious project to develop the Archer-NG, a Weaponized Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), is gaining momentum, with the rollout of the prototype expected by the end of the coming month. The Archer-NG is a significant development in India’s drone capabilities and is set to play a crucial role in intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, target acquisition, tracking, and strike missions.

Initially, the rollout of the Archer-NG had been planned for mid-2023, as stated by officials from the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) during Aero India 2023. However, due to some delays in the construction process, the schedule was postponed by approximately three to four months. The first test flight of this advanced armed drone is now anticipated to occur within the next six months.

The Archer-NG is designed to serve a wide range of missions, including Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, Tracking, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR). In addition to its surveillance capabilities, the drone is also equipped for strike roles, further enhancing its versatility.

Key specifications of the Archer-NG armed drone include:

Command Range: The drone can be controlled up to 250 kilometres Line of Sight (LOS) and up to 1,000 kilometres through SATCOM Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) communication.

Takeoff/Landing: It offers both conventional and automatic takeoff and landing options.

Payload Capacity: The drone can carry payloads of up to 350 kilograms.

Wing Span: With an impressive wingspan of 18.6 meters, the Archer-NG is well-suited for long-endurance missions.

Maximum Speed: The drone boasts a maximum speed of 225 kilometres per hour.

Hardpoints: It is equipped with four hardpoints that can carry payloads of up to 300 kilograms, making it highly adaptable for various mission requirements.

Mission Capability: The Archer-NG is designed for all-weather and day-night operations, ensuring its effectiveness in a wide range of conditions.

The development and rollout of the Archer-NG represent a significant leap in India’s indigenous drone capabilities. This MALE UAV will not only enhance the country’s military surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities but also strengthen its defence posture, particularly in terms of intelligence gathering and strike missions.

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