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Turkey’s successful launch of a Bayraktar TB3 drone from a land-based ski-jump platform has sparked interest in the potential for similar operations with India’s Archer unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Both the TB3 and Archer belong to the Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) UAV class, offering reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities for military applications.

Turkey’s achievement demonstrates the feasibility of launching medium-sized drones from aircraft carriers using a Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) system. This technique utilizes a ski-jump ramp to propel the aircraft for takeoff, a method employed by some carriers that lack the powerful catapults needed for conventional launches.

India’s Archer, developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), shares similarities with the Bayraktar TB3 in function and size. However, the current variant of the Archer is limited by its 16 horsepower piston engine, which would be insufficient for carrier takeoffs. Upgrading to a more powerful turbodiesel engine would be necessary for the Archer to operate effectively from an aircraft carrier.

The Archer has consistently achieved an operational altitude of 20,000 feet, with a design ceiling of 22,000 feet. However, for deployment on Indian Navy carriers, the Archer might need to surpass the 25,000-foot mark to ensure optimal performance. This would necessitate further modifications to the engine and potentially the airframe for high-altitude operations.

Turkey’s recent development highlights potential pathways for India to integrate the Archer or similar UAVs into its naval operations. Upgrading the engine and potentially the airframe design would be crucial for carrier-based operations. India’s success with the Archer program could significantly enhance the Indian Navy’s aerial surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.