DRDO's Short Range UAV To Be Integrated With Tank-Busting Missiles; Could Be Bought In Hundreds By Army, Paramilitary

Ujjwal Shrotryia

Feb 17, 2023, 04:45 PM | Updated 04:44 PM IST

Archer drone developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment. (@SJha1618/Twitter)
Archer drone developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment. (@SJha1618/Twitter)

Short-Range Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (SR-UAV), also known as Basic Archer, will be shortly integrated with anti-tank missiles, the Indian Express has reported.

According to the report, if the missile integration trails are successful, Indian Army and the paramilitary forces could buy them in large numbers.

SR-UAV is a variant of the Rustom-1 optimised for carrying missiles. The UAV has already completed flight trials and only weapon-firing trails of the platform remain pending.

Archer UAV can fly to a height of 22,000 feet for up to 12 hours, with a maximum range of 250 km. It can carry various Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR) payloads for reconnaissance and surveillance.

It can gather real-time high-quality imagery and is suited for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition Tracking and Reconnaissance (ISTAR).

"The missile evaluation trials of Archer are left where we will arm the UAV with anti-tank missiles and hit a dummy target. We want to see how the weapon performs. If the trials are successful, the Army and the paramilitary forces could induct these. They have expressed a lot of interest," the report quotes a DRDO scientist saying.

Work on another drone programme, Archer NG, is also making progress.

Speaking about the newly envisaged UAV, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) official said, “ADE is working on finalising the airframe for Archer-NG”.

Archer-NG at Aero India 2023.
Archer-NG at Aero India 2023.

The Archer-NG UAV can operate at a height of 30,000 feet and can carry various indigenously developed bombs and missiles like Smart Anti-Airfield Weapons (SAAWs) and anti-tank missiles.

It can also be used for ISTAR and post-strike battlefield assessment and will make its first flight by July this year.

Archer-NG can carry a maximum payload of 300 kg and has a range of 250 km with a Line-of Sight (LOS) link and 1,000 km with a Beyond Line-of Sight (BLOS) link.

Archer-NG has been developed under the Development cum Production Partner (DcPP) route, which ensures the involvement of industry from the beginning of development cycle and leads to the reduction in the time-frame of the development-to-induction cycle.

The DRDO has recently "promulgated new Transfer of Technology (ToT) policy and procedure with 'nil' ToT fee for its industry partners Development cum Production Partners (DcPP)/ Production Agency (PA) and ‘Nil’ royalty for supply to Indian Armed Forces". 

Apart from state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Bharat Electronics, private sector players like Larsen & Toubro, Triveni Industries, Jayem Automotives and Nucon Aerospace are also involved in the development of the weaponised drone.

Staff Writer at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.

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