The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), on July 1, successfully carried out the maiden flight of the Stealth Wing Flying Testbed (SWiFT), an aircraft that was being operated in a fully autonomous mode for 15 minutes at Chitradurga in Karnataka.
An official press release read, "Operating in a fully autonomous mode, the aircraft exhibited a perfect flight, including take-off, waypoint navigation and a smooth touchdown."
New And Improved Technology
In a report by The Times of India, the official press release further stated that the flight marked a significant milestone in proving critical technologies for the development of future unmanned aircraft and that this is a crucial step that is taken towards self-reliance in strategic defence technologies.
The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) SWiFT has been designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bengaluru, which is a premier research laboratory of DRDO.
The UAV is powered by a small Russian turbofan engine, while the airframe, undercarriage, and the entire flight control and avionics system for the UAV were developed indigenously.
The flight of the SWiFT, which weighs over a tonne, followed the flying control norms, navigation and other technical requirements needed to build the much bigger RPSA (remotely-piloted strike aircraft).
Response Of The Ministry
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated DRDO in his tweet and said, "It is a major achievement towards autonomous aircraft and will pave the way for 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' in terms of critical military systems."
Use Of Drones And UAVs In Other Sectors
India's drone industry can play a crucial role in public services such as agriculture, defence, healthcare and infrastructure maintenance.
Drones and UAVs are small aircrafts that do not require a pilot and can be used remotely and accessed through smartphone devices. These vehicles are unmanned and require far less effort, time and energy and can reach far and rugged terrains while being remotely controlled by a single person.
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