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NewSpace Research and Technologies (NRT) has aced a significant test, showcasing its prowess in the high-altitude drone delivery domain. Their recent accomplishment not only surpasses a previous record but also bolsters India’s self-reliance in drone technology.

NRT successfully conducted flight operations for a 100 kg Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) class Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) at Umling La, the world’s highest motorable pass at a staggering 19,024 feet.

The NRT drone managed to carry an impressive 25 kg of useful payload, surpassing the previous record of 15 kg. The NRT Orca O2S logistics drone took off from a staggering 5800 meters and reached a flight altitude of 6200 meters, demonstrating its ability to function in harsh, thin-air environments. Notably, the drone possessed reserves for even higher climbs.

NRT’s accomplishment outshines the prior record set by DJI’s FlyCart 30 in April 2024. While the FlyCart operated in the Mt. Everest region with a similar MTOW class, it could only manage a 15 kg payload and a 5300 meters take-off altitude.

The testing process was meticulously monitored and validated by a potential end user, highlighting the drone’s practical value. The O2S will be available in both autonomous standalone and swarm logistics variants, specifically designed for Super High Altitude Area (SHAA) operations. These drones have the potential to revolutionize load carriage missions in these challenging terrains, supporting both civilian and military needs.

NRT’s success signifies a major win for India’s drone ecosystem and the government’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India) and Make in India initiatives. This achievement demonstrates India’s growing competence in indigenous drone technology and its potential to be a frontrunner in high-altitude Unmanned Aerial Vehicle operations.

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