First Flight for Rustom II – India’s MALE Drone

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The Indian Tapas 201 (Rustom II) remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) made its first flight on November 16. Photo: DRDO

The Indian Tapas 201 remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) made its first flight on November 16, the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) announced. The aircraft, formerly known as ‘Rustom II,’ was developed by the DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE). The flight took place at the Aeronautical Test Range in Chitradurga, in the south of India.

Tapas 201 represents the first prototype of the Indian indigenous medium-altitude, long endurance platform designed for missions exceeding 24h. Once ready for operational use, Tapas-201 is expected to join active service with all Indian military services.

India currently uses large numbers of Searcher and Heron I unmanned systems bought from Israel Aerospace Industries. In addition to fielding its indigenous RPAS New Delhi is also seeking to import larger drones, namely the Israeli Heron TP, General Atomics MQ-9 and jet-powered Avenger.

India's new Rustom II MALE drone takes off on its maiden flight, November 16, 2016. Photo: DRDO
India’s new Rustom II MALE drone takes off on its maiden flight from the Aeronautical Test Range in Chitradurga, in the south of India on November 16, 2016. Photo: DRDO