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A retired Indian Air Force (IAF) captain, Harsh Vardhan Thakur, showcased a scale model of the Combat Air Teaming System (CATS) Warrior, a loyal wingman program co-developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and New Space Research & Technologies.

The CATS Warrior is a cost-effective, twin-engine teaming drone designed to operate in conjunction with existing manned fighter jets of the Indian Air Force. It serves as a support system for the manned aircraft during missions. Powered by the PTAE-7 engine in a twin-engine configuration, the CATS Warrior can effectively penetrate deep into enemy territory, reaching targets located at least 700km inside enemy airspace.

HAL has allocated a budget of 400 crores from its funds for the CATS Warrior program, with plans to conduct the maiden flight of a full-scale model in 2024. This investment demonstrates HAL’s commitment to the development and success of the program.

The loyal wingman will be capable of undertaking high-potential targets, surveillance, reconnaissance, and attacking both aerial and ground-based targets. It has a combat radius of 350 kilometres (217 miles) and can be operated from land, sea, and motherships.

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