BENGALURU: Though the TAPAS BH-201 (Tactical Airborne Platform for Advanced Surveillance - Beyond Horizon 201) made its successful maiden flight recently, there is a long way to go before it can be inducted in the armed forces, say Defence Research Development Organisation officials. They also dismissed reports of Tapas performing combat duties, maintaining that it has been specifically designed for a non-combat, ‘intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance role’.
TAPAS BH-201, earlier known as RUSTOM-II, is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), whose test flight was conducted at Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), Chitradurga, on November 16.
Dr S Christopher, chairman, DRDO said the total project cost of developing TAPAS was Rs 1,500 crore which included the new ATR facility worth Rs 350 crore. TAPAS was designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment of DRDO, along with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and Bharat Electronics Ltd.
Following the successful maiden flight, several other tests will be carried out in the next 12 months to optimise the UAV. The UAV, which is not weaponised, can carry several payloads for reconnaissance and other operations for the benefit of the armed forces.