BALASORE: India on Wednesday carried out maiden flight testing of Panchi, the wheeled version of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Nishant, capable of taking-off and landing by using small airstrips.
A defence release stated that the test was carried at Kolar test facility in Karnataka. The maiden flight of the unmanned aircraft lasted about 20 minutes and was successful. Wednesday’s flight was preceded by a series of high speed taxi trials.
Designed and developed by Pune based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a unit of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Panchi UAV has autonomous flight capabilities and is controlled from a user friendly Ground Control Station (GCS).
The aircraft has a jam resistant command link and digital down link for transmission of imagery. While its length is about 4.63 meter and wingspan 6.57 meter, it weighs around 380 kg. Travelling at a maximum speed of 185 km/hour, it can cruise at a speed of 125 km/hour to 150 km/hour with a service ceiling of 3,600 meter.
Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and DRDO chief Avinash Chander congratulated the team for the success. The UAV Panchi has all the surveillance capabilities of UAV Nishant. However, it will have longer endurance as it does not have to carry the air bags and parachute system as in the case of UAV Nishant.
Director General of Aeronautical Systems K Tamilmani said aggressive efforts by the Aeronautical Development Establishment team during the past 8 months in creating this version are commendable. “The aircraft flew at a speed close to 150 km per hour and successfully completed its flight,” he said.
The conventional Nishant unmanned aerial vehicle already inducted in Army is a multi-mission UAV with day and night operational capability. It can be launched from an all-terrain hydro pneumatic launcher and is recovered with the help of on board parachute system and an underbelly airbag.
It is designed for battlefield surveillance and reconnaissance, target tracking and localization and artillery fire correction. The electro-optic payloads are mounted on a stabilized steerable platform. A sophisticated image processing system is used for analyzing the images transmitted from the UAV, the release stated.