TAPAS only for surveillance, may be morphed for combat duty: DRDO chief

Director General of DRDO Mr. S Christopher said that the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Rustom-II – developed at a cost of Rs 1,500 crore – would be used only for non-combat purposes (surveillance).  Rustom -II – renamed as TAPAS-BH-201 (Tactical Advanced Platform for Aerial Surveillance-Beyond Horizon-201) – had its maiden flight recently and was tested for landing, take-off and other operations.  Addressing a press conference at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) here, he said, “TAPAS is developed only for surveillance purpose. Discussions are on to develop nine prototypes. All these will be tested and only then, the process of certification begins. Simultaneously, it is discussed that the UAV will be modified for combat purposes.”   “The armed forces are planning to increase their strength of UAVs and drones. We have to step up our work in making Rustom–II more effective, to serve in the forces. Another year of work is required on Rustom–II, before we approach the forces to examine it,” he said. Another official said other countries were developing drones and UAVs using advanced technology and Rustom-II needs to be developed on a par with them, else it will become outdated. The officials said that for the first time in the category of Indigenous Design Development and Manufacturing (IDDM), 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas AF Mk-1 will be procured by the forces at a total cost of Rs 50.025 crore, taking the total order of LCA to 123.  This was cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) recently. The first 20 LCAs will operate in accordance with the initial operational configuration (IOC) and the second batch consisting of 20 LCAs will get its field operation clearance (FOC) some time next year, after a few changes are made to the aircraft.  The Beyond Visual Range (BVR) derby missile will be tested again during December 2016 and January 2017.  It will also be tested for air-to-air refuelling and Internal Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) and external Self Protection Jammer (SPJ) Pod, to enhance survivability. “The performance of the aircraft will be constantly tested and we will extract the best out of it,” said another official. When asked about the Kaveri engine programme, Dr. C P Ramanarayana, Director General (Aero), said, “The project was estimated to cost Rs 2,100 crore and will require another Rs 600 crore to carry it forward. Discussions will be held to rope in a private establishment to work on Kaveri engine, which will be fitted to the LCA. The Railways is considering the use of the engine to generate power.”

Source: http://www.deccanherald.com/

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