The Aeronautical Development Establishment-designed and developed Rustom-1, a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned air vehicle (MALE UAV) has reportedly crashed while undergoing trials. The incident reportedly took place in Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh after the Rustom-1 hit the perimeter wall of the testing site.

Several Twitter handles tweeted about the crash of Rustom-1 stating that it had suffered a mishap while deployed for Anti-Naxal operations.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) did not comment on the mishap.

Incidents involving the Rustom-1 is not new, during the very first flight of the of the Rustom-1’s technology demonstrator in 2009 at the Taneja Aerospace Air Field near Hosur there was a glitch.

“The taxing and take-off was exactly as planned. Due to misjudgement of altitude of the flight, the on-board engine was switched off through ground command which made the on-board thrust developed to go to zero,” DRDO said after the first flight crashed in 2009.

Rustom-1 is named after Professor Rustom B Damania of the Indian Institute of Science who was involved in the development of NAL’s Light Canard Research Aircraft which later became the Rustom UAV.

Rustom-1 can attain a maximum altitude of 22,000 ft and has an endurance of 12-15 hours with an operating range of 250 km when fully developed.

Rustom-1 also has a successor, Rustom-II medium-altitude long-endurance UAV which is often referred to the desi version of US’s predator drones with an endurance level of 24 to 30 hours.

In 2019, the Rustom-II crashed during an experimental flight near the Aeronautical Test Range in Chitradurga.

Three armed forces and internal security organizations like State Police Forces, BSF, CRPF and Coast Guards, are the prospective users of Rustom.

The DRDO’s Directorate of Public Interface did not respond to email queries or phone calls.