The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) jointly flight-tested the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), Lakshya from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) off the Odisha coast last Friday.
The micro-light aircraft fitted with an advanced digital engine was test flown from the launching complex-II and the mission was successful, a defence official said.
Earlier both the sea and land recovery versions of the Pilot-less Target Aircraft (PTA) had been test flown successfully several times. An advanced version of the PTA named as Lakshya-2 was also tested by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at sea skimming altitude.
The aircraft flew over 35 minutes during which all the parametres were tested, an official said, adding that some more rounds of trials will be carried out shortly.
A defence scientist said usually the flight duration of the six feet long UAV is 30 to 35 minutes on air and there after, it drops down in the ocean. Its advanced version has a longer duration of flight up to 45 minutes.
The test was carried out to check the validity of its engine and duration enhancement. The PTA, a sub-sonic and re-usable aerial target system, is remote controlled from the ground and designed to impart training to both air-borne and air-defence pilots.
The engine and sub-systems have been developed by the ADE and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). When Lakshya attains a pre-determined altitude, tow bodies are released from its fuselage and towed at a kilometre distance to function as fast moving aerial targets for firing practice by fighter pilots and the army’s air defence artillery teams.
Lakshya, which has already been inducted into the Indian Air Force in 2000, is also required for evaluation and development trials of new surface-to-air and air-to-air weapon systems. It is also useful as an instrument to evaluate guns and missiles.
After the PTA trials, tests of surface-to-air nuclear capable missile Akash will be conducted from this test range next week. The Akash team arrived here on Friday and it has sought logistic support from the ITR for the test.
The test was carried out to check the validity of its engine and duration enhancement
The PTA, a sub-sonic and re-usable aerial target system, is remote controlled from the ground and designed to impart training to both air-borne and air-defence pilots
After the PTA trials, tests of Akash will be conducted from this test range next week.