India launches a new program to develop a combat drone capable of firing missiles and bombs 1104112
Defense News - India
Monday, April 11, 2011, 06:13 PM
India launches a new program to develop a combat drone capable of firing missiles and bombs.
India is quietly going ahead with an ambitious programme to develop its own stealth UCAVs (unmanned combat aerial vehicles) or 'smart' drones capable of firing missiles and bombs at enemy targets with precision.
Searcher-II drone UAV Unmanned aerial vehicle
Talking about the secretive AURA (autonomous unmanned research aircraft) programme for the first time, Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) told TOI that the aim is to develop the UCAVs for Indian Air Force in seven to eight years.
"With 50 million rupees of budget, a full-fledged project team with 15-18 scientists has already begun work on the UCAV's preliminary design and technology. With on-board mission computers, data links, fire control radars, identification of friend or foe, and traffic collision avoidance systems, they will be highly intelligent drones," DRDO's chief controller R&D (aeronautics) Dr Prahlada said.
"Capable of flying at altitudes of 9,200 m and weighing less than 15 tonnes, the UCAVs will have rail-launching for the missiles, bombs and PGMs (precision-guided munitions) they will carry," he added.
The realisation that UCAVs are "game-changers in modern-day warfare" has been reinforced by the successful use of American 'Predator' and 'Reaper' drones, armed with Hellfire and other missiles, against the Taliban in the Af-Pak region.