Rustom-2, India’s medium-altitude long-endurance drone being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, is targeted to achieve a huge milestone in April when it will take off from its test range in Karnataka’s Chitradurga to fly for more than 18 hours at a height of over 27,000 feet, people familiar with the development said.
Rustom-2, also known as Tapas-BH (Tactical Airborne Platform for Aerial Surveillance-Beyond Horizon 201, successfully completed the last flight test in October last year after it flew constantly for eight hours at an altitude of 16,000 feet.
India’s previous efforts to develop military hardware hadn’t been very successful in the past, forcing the country to import more than 60% of its military requirement. India is the world’s third-biggest military spender in the world after the United States and China & Still, it imports the majority of its equipment rather than developing it.
The drones, officials said, was one of the areas where India lagged behind and ended up relying on expensive imports from countries such as the USA and Israel. China, which has invested heavily in military equipment over the years, has raced ahead of India in this sector too
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which tracks global arms flows, China has not just built drones for the People’s Liberation Army but also exported 163 large weapons-capable UAVs to 13 countries from 2008 to 2018. It even gave four Wing Loong II armed drones to Pakistan to protect the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Gwadar port.
The hard push towards the development of Rustom-2 is seen in the context of the govt's continuing efforts to indigenously produce cutting-edge military equipment. Last year, the government stated plans to ban the import of 101 types of weapons and ammunition over the next five years ranging from artillery guns to conventional submarines and missiles.
Drone technology has become the pivot of modern warfare as it not only reduces the risk of losing human life but at same it also provides a stealthy & lethal offensive capability to its user. Modern drones have the capability to neutralize armored vehicles, enemy radars, air-defense batteries among others.