Defence Research Development Organisation successfully tested its heavy duty, medium altitude, long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle RUSTOM 2 or TAPAS-BH-201(Tactical Airborne Platform for Aerial Surveillance-Beyond Horizon-201) from its test facility center at Challakere in Karnataka’s Chitradurga district on 25 February 2018. DRDO chairman S Christopher, its Director General of Aeronautical System CP Ramanarayanan, DG Electronics and Communication Systems J Manjula and other senior scientists witnessed the test flight. This Drone is Developed and Designed By Aeronautical Development Establishment wing of the DRDO and HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd) and BHEL (Bharat Electronics Ltd) as its production partner.
It is designed to carry out surveillance and reconnaissance roles for the Indian Armed Forces. It is capable of carrying different combination of payloads including synthetic aperture radar, electronic intelligence systems and situational awareness systems. The UAV has an endurance of 24 hours and is similar to the American predator series of drones.Powered by twin NPO-Saturn 36MT turboprop engines, the Rustom-II is being developed as a long endurance surveillance platform capable of deploying precision weapons. With a wingspan of more than 20m and an endurance of 24–30 hours, the UCAV needs a runway to takeoff and land unlike traditional UAVs, which makes it more trustworthy.
TAPAS-BH-201 had a successful maiden flight on 16th Nov 2016 at Challakere, 200 km away from Bengaluru in the district of Chitradurga in south Indian state of Karnataka. It was tested for take off, landing and other parameters.The capability of automatic takeoff and landing makes it comparable to some of the best in the world.