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India’s Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a division under the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has unveiled significant updates regarding the development and testing of its latest Short-Range Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-Weaponized (SRUAV-W), known as ‘Archer.’

An ADE official shared these developments during the eighth Aerospace and Defence Manufacturing Show (ADMS), held in Bangalore from October 26 to 27. According to the official, the SRUAV-W/Archer is based on ADE’s Rustom-1 tactical UAV. They expressed confidence in completing the initial weaponized flight testing phase by June 2024.

The Rustom-1 project was initially launched in 2009 to serve an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) role. Under the Archer project, the UAV has been extensively modified to enable armed missions, with this modification commencing in mid-2022.

Through a series of tests conducted by ADE, Archer has consistently reached altitudes of 20,000 feet. The system was designed to operate at a ceiling of 22,000 feet, and the ADE is currently evaluating Archer’s ability to carry various payloads, including anti-tank guided missiles and anti-personnel missiles.

While the official did not reveal the engine manufacturer, it is understood that the engine was imported from France. Archer is propelled by a 16 hp piston engine, driven by a three-bladed pusher propeller.

The progress on the Archer project signifies India’s dedication to enhancing its defence capabilities and expanding its range of unmanned aerial vehicles for various missions, including combat-ready applications.

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