TAPAS is said as the Indian version of the medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) Predator drone

TAPAS-201 has been designed and developed by the Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE)

The TAPAS 201 Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV has achieved a significant milestone after undertaking a flight test lasting 18 hours at the Aeronautical Test Range in Chitradurga, Karnataka.

TAPAS-201 has been designed and developed by the Bengaluru-based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE). HAL and BEL will be the production partners for the MALE UAV.

Announcing the milestone, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) tweeted: India’s TAPAS UAV, #designed & #developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bangalore for tri-services has successfully achieved #milestone flight test of 18 hours at Aeronautical Test Range, Chitradurga.

TAPAS-201 is a multi-mission UAV being developed to carry out Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance roles for the three wings of the armed forces with endurance in the range of 24 to 30 hours.

Described as the Indian version of the US’s Predator drones, TAPAS-201 is capable of carrying different combinations of payloads, like Medium Range Electro Optic, Long Range Electro Optic, Synthetic Aperture Radar, Electronic Intelligence, Communication Intelligence and Situational Awareness Payloads, to perform missions during day and night.

The MALE UAV, which was earlier referred to as RUSTOM-II, undertook its first flight in November 2016. Since then, it has undertaken many test flights.

In 2019, the TAPAS-201 program suffered a setback when the UAV crashed during an experimental flight near the Aeronautical Test Range in Chitradurga.

Apart from the Indian army, air force and navy, internal security agencies like State Police Forces, BSF, CRPF, and the Coast Guard are also prospective users of the MALE UAV.