SWiFT that is being developed as a technology demonstrator for the DRDO’s secretive program to create an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) just completed its first successfully flight. SWiFT that is powered by a Russian NPO Saturn 36MT turbofan engine generating a 4.41 KN of thrust with all up take-off weight of less than one ton, will be used extensively for validating many of the design features and systems for the larger program.

While still images provided by the DRDO featured a clean tailless flying wing design, but take-off, and landing video provided by DRDO featured a vertical stabilizer (Tail) that created some level of confusion. SWiFT design never featured a tail but this one does but that might have to do with either software control laws that are still being tested out or as an additional safety margin to the platform in the initial few flights before it can be flight-tested without the vertical stabilizer.

A flying wing tailless fixed-wing design offers the most aerodynamically efficient design configuration and is often used for stealth platforms like manned and unmanned bomber aircraft but due to the lack of vertical stabilizers, this configuration also inherits an unstable and difficult to control surface that often leads to directional stability in yaw.

Based on the data collected on the stabilizing fins and associated control rudders and further software improvements a vertical stabilizer can be removed from the design in near future. SWiFT is as advertised a technology demonstrator that will be used to test many of the technologies that are under development for a larger stealth unmanned Unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) that will be developed after the maturity of this program.

DRDO plans to develop a 10-12 ton All-up take-off weight UCAV that will be powered by a Dry Kaveri engine that can generate 46kN of thrust to be used for unmanned bombing roles in highly contested airspace.

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