Rustom-2, India's long endurance Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) developed by DRDO finally completed its maiden flight early on Tuesday in Challakere, about 200 kms from Bengaluru.
The UCAV, which is in the medium-altitude, long endurance (MALE) category of vehicles, sources in the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), which developed the vehicle said "met all the expectations" during the first flight.
First scheduled in late 2013, the three year delay of the first flight had only added to the timeline, which is punctuated by other delays during development, even as the Indian armed forces are increasingly looking outside the country for combat drones with deals already struck with Israeli firms.
The Rustom-2 developers however claimed that it will be a much superior aircraft than the current UAV's in the ranks of our forces. It has a wingspan of more than 20m and an endurance of 24-30 hours.
Equipped with contemporary technology, it will need a runway to takeoff and land unlike traditional UAVs, which makes it more trustworthy. Compared to Rustom-I, the advanced version will have enhanced aerodynamic configuration, digital flight control and navigation system.