by Anantha Krishnan M

Rustom-II (Tapas), the medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from Aeronautical Development Establishment flew in the Satellite Communication (SATCOM) mode for the first time.

Sources at DRDO headquarters confirm that the UAV also flew with the long range electro optical payload. They claim that these two capabilities are not available on the Heron and Searcher UAVs being operated by the tri-Services now.

The future of this UAV program is still unclear, with the Services yet to give any firm commitment. Sources say the Tapas team is determined to prove several new capabilities during the next set of trials.

Uttam Ready

The home-grown Uttam Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar developed by Electronics & Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) seems to be making the right moves to get the attention of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

With the addition of AESA radar being one of the key features of Tejas Mk-1A, LRDE hopes that Uttam can even meet the schedules of the upgraded program.

It has already completed more than 100 hours of flying on a hired aircraft and nearly 25 hours on Tejas test platforms. It is now confirmed that Uttam’s air-to-air mode and its sub-mode functionalities have been already tested.

Uttam is in competition with the Israeli Elta radar and the official word is not yet out on the question of how many Tejas MK1As (total 83) will be fitted with the desi technology.

LRDE scientists are pinning their hopes on the Aatmanirbhar Bharat mandate.