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.