DRDO mum on surveillance drone crash in Karnataka

Bengaluru, Sep 17 : Barring a tweet on the crash of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Rustom-II in Karnataka’s Chitradurga district on Tuesday, the state-run Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) has remained mum on the incident.

“The prototype UAV crashed during experimental flight. We are analysing the data to ascertain reasons for its crash as it was a development flight,” an official told IANS here.

The DRDO and its aerospace arms — ADE and ADA — have their second aeronautical test range (ATR) near Chitradurga. The defence R&D agency’s first ATR is at Kolar, about 100km east of Bengaluru.

“The UAV, being developed by the DRDO on experimental flight trial in new configuration, has crash landed in fields near ATR Chitradurga. Data is being analysed,” the apex defence research body tweeted earlier in the day.

“The 3-drone crashed in a farmland near the test range in the morning after staying airborne for about 30 minutes,” another official said.

The medium altitude long endurance UAV (prototype) has been under development since November 2016 for use by the armed forces for their surveillance activity.

The first version (Rustom-1) was developed in November 2009 and underwent extensive trials at the Kolar test range.

The drones were named after aerospace professor Rustom Damania under whose leadership their earlier version Light Canard Research Aircraft (LCRA) was designed and developed by the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) at this tech hub, ostensibly, to replace the Heron drones that were in service of the armed forces.

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