The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) recently achieved a significant milestone by successfully conducting a flight trial of the Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator, an indigenous high-speed flying-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). This successful demonstration places India in an elite group of countries that have mastered the controls for flying wing technology.
Elite Club Entry
The Defence Ministry announced on Friday that the DRDO conducted a successful flight trial of the autonomous flying wing technology demonstrator in Karnataka’s Chitradurga. With this achievement, India joins an elite club of countries that have mastered the controls for flying wing technology, showcasing a remarkable advancement in the nation’s technological readiness levels.
Development by DRDO
The UAV, designed and developed by DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment, marks a significant step leap in India’s aerospace capabilities. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh commended the DRDO, armed forces and the industry for the successful flight trial, emphasizing the strengthening of the armed forces through the indigenous development of critical technologies.
Flight Trials and Technological Advancements
The maiden flight of the aircraft took place in July 2022, followed by six subsequent flight trials in various developmental configurations, utilizing two in-house manufactured prototypes. These trials led to advancements in aerodynamics, control systems, real-time simulation, hardware-in-loop simulation and ground control stations. The final flight in the tailless configuration demonstrated India’s control mastery of flying wing technology.
Aerospace Technology Showcase
The UAV prototype features a complex arrowhead wing platform constructed from lightweight carbon prepreg composite material developed indigenously. The composite structure, equipped with fiber interrogators for health monitoring, serves as a testament to ‘Aatmanirbharta’ (self-reliance) in aerospace technology, showcasing India’s ability to innovate and manufacture advanced materials domestically.
Autonomous Landing Capacity
One of the standout features of the UAV is its autonomous landing capability, eliminating the need for ground radars, infrastructure or a pilot. This unique capability allows for take-off and landing from any runway with surveyed coordinates. The autonomous landing was made possible through onboard sensor data fusion, coupled with indigenous satellite-based augmentation using GPS-aided and GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) receivers, enhancing GPS navigation accuracy and integrity.
Important Questions Related to Exams
Q1. What significant milestone did DRDO achieve recently?
Sol. DRDO achieved a milestone by successfully conducting a flight trial of the Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator.
Q2. In which state was the successful flight trial of the UAV conducted?
Sol. The successful flight trial took place in Karnataka’s Chitradurga.
Q3. What elite group did India join with this achievement?
Sol. India joined an elite group of countries that have mastered the controls for flying wing technology.
Q4. Which organization designed and developed the UAV?
Sol. The UAV was designed and developed by DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment.