Abhyas, a high-speed expendable aerial target (HEAT) drone, is taking definite shape at the hangars of Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE). Scientists are working on the propulsion and control systems, taking the project closer to its final configuration.
Abhyas, a high-speed expendable aerial target (HEAT) drone, is taking definite shape at the hangars of Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE).
In an interview with Express, ADE director P S Krishnan confirmed that Abhyas has already undergone a proof of the concept, pre-project trial at the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s new test-range in Chitradurga.
“The first experimental launch (without the engine) of Abhyas was held last year at the Chitradurga range. It was the first ground-based trial held at the new range. We are now working on a small gas turbine engine weighing 19 kg having a thrust of 25 kg to be fitted on to Abhyas,” Krishnan said.
He said in order to put the project on a fast-track, ADE scientists have used the same toe-body of Lakshya.
“We have sized the wings and tail plane in proportionate to that of Lakshya so that we are able to get the final product at the earliest. We have conceived a launcher and also identified two 68-mm rockets for Abhyas. The first experimental flight successfully demonstrated the launch and configuration capabilities,” Krishnan said.With an endurance of 25-30 minutes, Abhyas will be fitted with sensors and is GPS-enabled. It will have onboard actuators, a flight control computer and a miss-distance indicator.
The project was sanctioned with an initial DRDO funding of Rs 15 crore and ADE will roll out 15 Abhyas technology demonstrators (TDs) in the next two years.
The services have floated a combined global tender projecting the requirement of 225 HEAT drones and ADE says it will not be bidding for it. The Navy wants HEAT platforms so that it can do away with the post-launch recovery modes, which are time-consuming and difficult in a huge scenario like the sea.
“In addition to being a stable vehicle for weapon practice, Abhyas can be used as an effective jammer platform. Every bit of onboard systems come for Indian industries, which makes Project Abhyas special in many ways,” Krishnan said.