Rustom-2, DRDO’s unmanned aircraft, crashed during test trails in Karnataka’s Chitradurga District on Tuesday. News Nation has learnt that the incident took place around 6 am in morning. The crash took place the Challakere Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), which is an outdoor testing and evaluating facility set up by the DRDO exclusively for unmanned and manned aircraft. The test range is very close to Chitradurga district headquarters. Confirming the incident, Chitradurga SP told News Nation, “It's a Rustom-2 UAV from the DRDO. Test trails were being conducted and it failed and the aircraft crashed into an open field. Curious onlookers were seen gathering around the aircraft debris. We have cordoned off the area now and police is at the spot.”
Rustom 2 is part of Rs 1,500 crore UAV project carried out by the DRDO. Last year in February, the unmanned aircraft had carried out its successful test flight. Rustom 2 is being developed on the lines of predator drones of the US to carry out surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) roles for the armed forces with an endurance of 24 hours, a DRDO official said .
Rustom 2 is capable of carrying different combinations of payloads like synthetic aperture radar, electronic intelligence systems and situational awareness payloads, officials said. The UAV has been designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of the DRDO, and aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and Bharat Electronics Ltd are its production partners.
“UAVs have been in use, especially in military applications, for over four decades. Several non-military applications have also been demonstrated and used extensively during this period. Now, it could be said that UAV technology has reached some stage of maturity. But this technology is still evolving and making enormous strides to achieve higher capabilities,” the DRDO said on the need for UAV project in India.