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India's Rustom-II combat UAV completes first flight test

By Ryan Maass
The Rustom-II TAPAS 201 has a flight endurance of 24 hours, and can be used for both combat and non-combat roles. Photo by DRDO/Facebook
The Rustom-II TAPAS 201 has a flight endurance of 24 hours, and can be used for both combat and non-combat roles. Photo by DRDO/Facebook

CHITRADURGA, India, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Defense researchers in India have hailed the first flight of the Rustom-II long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle as a success.

The Rustom-II TAPAS 201 completed its maiden flight on Wednesday in a test conducted by India's Defense Research and Development Organization, or DRDO. The event took place at the Aeronautical Test Range in Chitradurga, roughly 155 miles from Bangladore.

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Officials say the UAV successfully accomplished all main objectives during the test, including takeoff, bank, level flight, and landing. DRDO reports" target="_blank">http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/rustom-ii-uav-successfully-completes-maiden-test-flight-4379079/ the aircraft was the first R&D prototype to undergo certification and qualification from the Center for Military Airworthiness & Certification and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance.

The 2-ton craft is a multimission UAV designed for combat roles in addition to intelligence and surveillance operations. It has an endurance of 24 hours, and can carry a variety of payloads including medium-range electro-optic, long-range electro-optic, synthetic aperture radar, and situational awareness payloads to perform missions during the day and night.

While defense officials have praised the flight test, several steps remain before the Rustom-II enters service with three of India's military branches. The craft is scheduled to undergo further evaluations before it can be approved for user validation trials.

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