Rustom UAV

The fifth test flight of indigenously designed and developed Rustom-1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was successful recently.

What is Rustom-1?

  • Rustom-1 is the name of India’s a medium-altitude and long-endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), which is being developed by the Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE). It was successfully tested recently.
  • Rustam-1 follows two other UAVs developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment.
    • The duo is Lakshya and Nishant.
    • Laksya is a drone can be remotely piloted by a ground control station and provides aerial sub-targets for live-fire training.
    • Nishant is a surveillance aircraft which has the main job of intelligence gathering over enemy territory.
    • Rustam has endurance of 12-15 hours and can carry pay load of 75 kilograms. The altitude ceiling is 25000 feet. Rustam can be used by Indian Army, Navy and Airforce, all of them.

What is a UAV?

  • UAV, means aerial vehicles which operate without a human pilot. UAVs are commonly used in both the military and police forces in situations where the risk of sending a human piloted aircraft is unacceptable, or the situation makes using a manned aircraft impractical.
  • One of the predecessors of today’s fully autonomous UAVs were the “aerial torpedoes”, designed and built during World War One.
  • These were primitive UAVs, relying on mechanical gyroscopes to maintain straight and level flight, and flying until they ran out of fuel. They would then fall from the sky and deliver and explosive payload. More advanced UAVs used radio technology for guidance, allowing them to fly missions and return. They were constantly controlled by a human pilot, and were not capable of flying themselves.
  • After the invention of the integrated circuit, engineers were able to build sophisticated UAVs, using electronic autopilots. It was at this stage of development that UAVs became widely used in military applications. UAVs could be deployed, fly themselves to a target location, and either attack the location with weapons, or survey it with cameras and other sensor equipment.
  • Modern UAVs are controlled with both autopilots, and human controllers in ground stations. This allows them to fly long, uneventfully flights under their own control, and fly under the command of a human pilot during complicated phases of the mission.

Uses of UAV:

Aerial Reconnaissance:

  • UAVs are often used to get aerial video of a remote location, especially where there would be unacceptable risk to the pilot of a manned aircraft.
  • UAVs can be equipped with high resolution still, video, and even infrared cameras. The information obtained by the UAV can be streamed back to the control centre in real time.

Scientific Research:

  • In some cases, scientific research necessitates obtaining data from hazardous or remote locations. A good example is hurricane research, which often involves sending a large manned aircraft into the centre of the storm to obtain meteorological data.
  • A UAV can be used to obtain this data, with no risk to a human pilot.

Logistics and Transportation :

  • UAVs can be used to carry and deliver a variety of payloads. Helicopter type UAVs are well suited to this purpose, because payloads can be suspended from the bottom of the airframe, with little aerodynamic penalty.
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