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The National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) in India is at the forefront of cutting-edge technology development, and their latest innovation is poised to make a significant impact on military operations. NAL is working on an Autonomous Fire and Forget UAV Loitering Munition, a weapon system that is akin to the Iranian Shahed 136-class loitering munition, which has gained prominence in recent conflicts, including the Ukraine war involving Russia.

This advanced technology promises an impressive range, endurance, and autonomous capabilities that could reshape the landscape of modern warfare.

Specifications of the NAL Loitering Munition:

  • Wingspan: 3 meters
  • Length: 2.8 meters
  • Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW): 120 kilograms
  • Maximum Payload: 25 kilograms
  • Endurance: 9 hours
  • Cruise Speed: 40 meters per second (143 km/h) to 50 meters per second (180 km/h)
  • Maximum Speed: 1000 kilometres per hour
  • Ceiling Altitude: 5000 meters above sea level
  • Temperature Range: 0-55°C
  • Power Plant: 30 HP Wankel Engine

Key Features:

  1. Vision-Based Navigation: The loitering munition employs advanced vision-based navigation systems, allowing it to identify and track targets effectively.
  2. Low Radar Cross Section (RCS): Designed with a low radar cross-section, this munition minimizes its detectability, enhancing its stealth capabilities.
  3. Increased Autonomy Levels: The system offers high levels of autonomy, reducing the need for constant operator control and intervention.
  4. Hybrid Power Source: Equipped with a hybrid power source, this munition can efficiently operate for extended periods, ensuring prolonged missions.
  5. Low Acoustics: The loitering munition’s low acoustic signature makes it less detectable by acoustic sensors, enhancing its covert operations.
  6. Indigenous Hardware and Software: Developed using indigenous hardware and software, this technology showcases India’s self-reliance in defence innovation.

The NAL’s creation is poised to bring a new dimension to military operations. With its remarkable range and endurance, it can cover vast distances, making it a versatile asset for a wide range of military missions. The combination of advanced navigation, low detectability, and high autonomy levels ensures it can operate effectively in complex and challenging environments.

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