Indigenous UAV Rustom-2 is expected to complete user trials by August 2023.
- It has been designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bengaluru with production partners being Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and Bharat Electronics Limited.
- Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) refers to an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that flies at an altitude window of 10,000 to 30,000 feet for extended durations of time, typically 24 to 48 hours.
- It is also known as Tapas-BH (Tactical Airborne Platform for Aerial Surveillance-Beyond Horizon 201).
- The UAV is actually named after Rustom Damania, a former professor at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.
- It is being developed to carry out surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) roles and is capable of carrying different combinations of advanced payload and capable of auto-landing among others.
- It is being designed to acquire real-time, high-quality pictures and signal intelligence from fields of concern at medium to long ranges.
- It technologically matches contemporary UAVs available and will also be cheaper than the imported ones.
- High endurance UAVs are a priority requirement for the armed forces especially in the standoff with China in Eastern Ladakh.
- The armed forces rely heavily on the Israeli Searcher and Heron drones and need more such UAVs.