The indigenously-developed Tactical Aerial Platform for Advanced Surveillance (TAPAS) 201 Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is now ready for user evaluation trials, said the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO).
Hailed as the Indian version of the US’ Predator drones, TAPAS 201 can carry different combinations of payloads such as Medium Range Electro Optic, Long Range Electro Optic, Synthetic Aperture Radar, Electronic Intelligence, Communication Intelligence and Situational Awareness Payloads to perform missions during day and night.
The UAV has been designed and developed by the Bengaluru-based Aeronautical Development Establishment. The multi-mission vehicle can carry out the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance roles for the three armed forces with an endurance of 24 to 30 hours.
On June 27, the TAPAS UAV was demonstrated before the Tri-Services team for the first time at Aeronautical Test Range in Chitradurga in Karnataka, where it achieved a milestone of 200 flights. On June 16, the DRDO and the Indian Navy successfully demonstrated transferring of command and control capabilities of TAPAS UAV from a distant ground station to onboard INS Subhadra, 148 km from Karwar Naval Base in the southern state.
The MALE UAV was earlier referred to as Rustom. Besides the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy, internal security agencies such as State police forces, Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, and Coast Guards are its prospective users.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Bharat Electronics Limited will be the production partners for the MALE UAV.