SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG
Undeterred by the recent crash of the TAPAS UAV during an experimental flight trial in nearby farmland from ATR Challakere, Karnataka, plans for user trials of the TAPAS UAV remain steadfast. The trials, originally slated to commence later this year, will proceed as scheduled, according to information obtained by idrw.org.
The recent crash marks the second instance of TAPAS experiencing an accident in the past four years, but preliminary reports suggest that the crash might not be linked to any technical defects, reinforcing the dedication to advancing the program.
The TAPAS UAV, designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), possesses a total of four working prototypes, apart from the one that crashed. These prototypes will be utilized for the forthcoming user trials. Notably, the crashed prototype was an upgraded version equipped with satcom equipment, which enabled operations beyond the line of sight.
Named TAPAS-BH, this unmanned aerial vehicle falls under the category of Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAVs, boasting an operational altitude of 30,000 feet and an impressive endurance of 24 hours. TAPAS achieved a significant milestone when it completed its maiden flight in November 2016, demonstrating its ability to operate at various altitudes for several hours.
One of the standout features of the TAPAS UAV is its incorporation of top-tier military-grade Electro-Optical (EO) and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payloads. This advanced equipment is poised to enhance the imagery quality significantly, bolstering Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, Tracking, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) operations for the military across diverse terrains.
The TAPAS UAV emerges as a critical solution to the tri-services ISTAR requirements. Despite the challenges faced, the Indian Armed Forces remain committed to its potential, with plans to procure approximately 97 units across various branches. Notably, the Indian Army is keen on acquiring nearly 60 units of the TAPAS UAV to address its specific operational needs.
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