IUSAV re­vealed


It is fi­nally clear what In­dia’s hush-hush stealth un­manned com­bat aerial ve­hi­cle (UCAV) will look like, with im­ages emerg­ing from the project’s de­sign and def­i­ni­tion stage fi­nally pro­vid­ing a def­i­nite pic­ture. The In­dian un­manned strike air ve­hi­cle (IUSAV), un­der pre­lim­i­nary def­i­ni­tion and de­vel­op­ment by the Aero­nau­ti­cal De­vel­op­ment Agency (ADA) in Ban­ga­lore un­der the stew­ard­ship of aero­nau­ti­cal sci­en­tist and project di­rec­tor Dr Biju Uthup, is in­tended as a stealthy au­ton­o­mous bomber air­craft, in­cor­po­rat­ing fly­ing wing aero­dy­nam­ics, low ob­serv­able fea­tures, long en­durance ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and the abil­ity to de­ploy pre­ci­sion-guided weapons over en­emy ter­ri­tory. Sev­eral dif­fer­ent lab­o­ra­to­ries are cur­rently en­gaged in var­i­ous sub-sys­tems that will go into the IUSAV, which the DRDO in­tends to be­gin flight test­ing by 2015-16, an am­bi­tious tar­get by cur­rent stan­dards. The project has an ini­tial in­vest­ment of ` 100 crore, but with ad­di­tional sanc­tions, the amount could go up to a to­tal of $1.5-bil­lion over­all. At this stage, the pri­mary user of the in­tended plat­form, the In­dian Air Force, has in­sisted that the se­cret project be a fully In­dian ef­fort. How­ever, it is un­der­stood that the DRDO has held dis­cus­sions at var­i­ous lev­els with Saab, EADS, Das­sault and BAE Sys­tems for pos­si­ble tech­no­log­i­cal part­ner­ships on the IUSAV. Ear­lier this year, De­fence Min­is­ter A.K. Antony in­formed Par­lia­ment that ef­forts were on to mod­ify the Kaveri jet engine for pos­si­ble use on the IUSAV.

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