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Sunday, December 25, 2016

India’s Cruise Missile Programme Updates

Re-inventing the wheel is a futile and time-consuming process for countries like India, especially when there are a select few friendly, highly industrialised countries that are more than willing to share their expertise with India’s military-industrial entities and co-developing re-engineered, customer-specific weapon systems that are required in large numbers by India’s armed forces. Such a business practice thus cuts short the gestation timeframe required for fielding advanced weapons on multiple platforms, since all their R & D challenges have already been overcome before, and all that is required to be done is to customise or re-engineer them for complying with the qualitative requirements of their respective Indian end-users. Three such weapons that are now under co-development comprise the Nirbhay family of land-attack cruise missiles (LACM) and the BrahMos-NG supersonic multi-role cruise missile (MRCM) being co-developed with Russia’s JSC MIC NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM), and the smart anti-airfield weapon (SAAW) being co-developed with Israel’s RAFAEL Advanced Defence Systems.
Nirbhay LACM Explained
The Nirbhay is a subsonic LACM designed to fly at subsonic speeds to neutralise targets of interest deep inside the adversary’s territory in the early days of a conflict. This project was conceived back in 2003 as a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) and air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and as a warship-launched/submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) for the Indian Navy (IN). An inter-governmental agreement inked in mid-2005 between India and Russia saw the formalisation of industrial partnerships between India’s Defence Research & Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Bengaluru-based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) and Russia’s Novator OKB, and between India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Russian engine manufacturer JSC NPO Saturn. Subsequently, Novator OKB transferred the design data package of its 3M-14E LACM to ADE for re-engineering purposes, while JSC NPO Saturn began shipping 12 fully-assembled and ready-to-install 37-01E turbofans for the Nirbhay’s flight-test programme, and this was to be followed by the supply of an additional 600 turbofans in knocked-down condition to HAL for final assembly. Full-scale prototype development work commenced in early 2007, with the ADE being designated as the nodal systems house for R & D along with ASL (Hyderabad), RCI (Hyderabad), HEMRL (Pune), R & DE (E) (Pune), TBRL (Chandigarh), ITR (Balasore) and GTRE (Bengaluru) as sub-systems re-engineering partners. Phase-I of the project focussed on the development of Nirbhay’s ground-launched version.
Any cruise missile mission consists of pre-launch, launch, cruise and terminal phase. The pre-launch mission phase deals with mission planning, waypoint selection, on-board mission computer’s algorithm, complete missile system checkout, and the fire-control system. The launch phase starts with booster fire and shaping the trajectory with the help of thrust vectoring and ends with a configuration suitable for cruise phase. The cruise missile configuration is basically an aircraft-like configuration that flies along the various waypoints using autonomous waypoint navigation. At the end of the cruise phase, the missile performs a terminal manoeuvre to home to a target at the desired attack angle. 
The unique selling point of the LACM includes:
Long-range missions at very low altitudes
Autonomous mission and trajectory control through waypoint navigation
High degree of loitering capability
High degree of range scalability
Deployable from multiple platforms
Designed to carry desired warheads on targets of interest
A cost-effective weapon delivery platform
Ability to attack the target from any desired direction
The Nirbhay is configured to achieve various mission phase requirements. This bank-to-turn missile was designed with a low wing and four all-moving fins for stability and control. The missile, designed with a high degree of modularity, consists of seven sections to house the seeker, warhead, on-board avionics, fuel and air-intake section for the turbofan engine, and the expendable booster section. This configuration is optimised for low-altitude flights though it delivers desired performance for the full flight envelope. The airframe was designed by Novator OKB for modular fabrication and integration, predominantly with light aluminium alloy and composite materials. The airframe was designed considering the ‘g’ loads experienced in the boost and cruise phases. The airframe construction uses glass-fibre and carbon-fibre as reinforcements in fabric form, epoxy resin system as matrix, and acrylic foam (Rohacell) is used as a core material. Fabrication uses wet layup, pre-pregs and matched die-moulding process. The bulkheads and longerons are also made of aluminium alloy. The structural sizing of the airframe was carried out to satisfy strength, stiffness and stability criteria as well as dynamic and aero-elastic requirements as stipulated in applicable aircraft standards and military standards.
The Mobile Articulated Launcher is configured for transportation, emplacement, erection, activation and the launching of missiles. In addition, the launcher also houses the main and standby power-supply systems, the fire-control and checkout system for up to four missiles, intra-communication system for communications with the combat management system and other associated ground-support systems equipment. The launcher is built with a rail-guide, on which the missile-lugs travel to ensure safe clearance. The current launcher, fabricated by Larsen & Toubro, is a prototype to be used for development flights of the missile. The actual launcher will be developed against specific requirements of the users. The Fire-Control & Checkout System (FCCS) is intended for automatic checkout, preparation before launch and launch of the missiles. The FCCS consists of a launch console, which is the central controller that coordinates the activities of all the sub-systems. Interaction of the launch complex with the articles is facilitated via the missile interface unit. The launch complex can be also be operated from a remote console. Mission planning is an essential activity and it deals with the collection of relevant information on target, terrain, obstacles, threats, the missile’s capability, and the ground-support capability to achieve maximum kill probability.
The wing is folded and kept inside the fuselage, held by the initial locking mechanism. The wing shutter opens during the boost phase upon command and after the wing is deployed the door closing mechanism is initiated to close the cut-out provided in the fuselage, resulting in reduced missile drag during the cruise phase. The wing deployment systems is attached to the centre bracket of the wing and an attachment bracket has been welded with the fuel tank with a provision to fix a strut, which in turn receives the wing centre bracket. The basic mechanism is of single slider crank-type. The active force generated by a pair of pyro-cartridges is converted into torque for rotating the wing through 90 degrees. Damper is provided in the mechanism for energy absorption during deployment phase. The mechanism is provided with two types of locking mechanism and stopper to keep the wing in position after deployment. The submerged air-intake section consists of the air-intake duct, which starts as a hole in the belly of the missile and guides the air into the inlet section of the engine. The length, ramp angle and lip-radius of the submerged air intake is designed to meet the constraints on distortion levels and pressure recovery.
The requirements of long-range precision navigation are achieved using redundant satellite-aided navigation system using the IRNSS constellation. The primary navigation system is based on three sets of ring laser gyro and accelerometers (supplied by Israel Aerospace Industries’ TAMAM Division), which produces unaided and aided navigation information at regular intervals through a MIL-STD-1553B digital avionics databus. The secondary navigation system is based on three sets of MEMS gyroscopes and accelerometers that produce similar information as that of the primary navigation system. In case of failure of on-board inertial sensors, the primary navigation system uses equivalent information from the standby system till the second failure. Upon second failure, the on-board control system uses the secondary navigation system’s information for its control loop closure. 
The redundant navigation systems ensure the desired nautical mile per hour accuracy at the start of the missile’s terminal cruise phase. The primary launch phase requirement of any cruise missile is to launch vertically through the mobile articulated launcher and to align at any desired direction, meeting the altitude and Mach number constraints at various instants of time. In this phase, the missile transcends four configurations, starting with missile then to a bomb (with fins only) and to a glider with wings deployed and finally an aircraft configuration powered by the turbofan. 
Accelerating the missile from zero speed to the desired speed is achieved by using an expendable solid propulsion booster, housed as a part of the booster section. This section is connected to the main missile using four pyro-bolts, which are initiated for stage separation after booster burn-out during launch. This section houses all the onboard systems essential for thrust vectoring and also a separation mechanism to ensure positive separation of the missile. The booster’s thrust axis is deflected as desired by the thrust-vector control system to generate necessary control forces to achieve the desired launch phase trajectory from vertical to horizontal. The thrust-vector control systems consist of a pair of actuators mounted on a flex-nozzle system to orient the thrust axis in both pitch and yaw planes. The on-board control system compares the state information as measured by the on-board inertial navigation system with desired trajectory, and generates steering commands to the thrust-vector control actuator.
When the missile reaches the desired speed and orientation, the solid propulsion booster is jettisoned using pyro-bolts and retro-motors. The pyro-bolts ensure physical separation of the booster section from the missile and the retro-motors ensure positive separation from the missile. In this phase, the missile is entering the no-thrust zone and it continues till the engine develops full thrust. After sufficient time separation, the wing is unlocked, deployed and locked into its final desired position that turns the missile to a glider configuration. In this phase, the missile is still in the no-thrust zone. After sufficient time separation, the turbofan is started in-flight, which turns the missile into powered aircraft configuration. 
When the turbofan develops the full thrust, the missile exits the no-thrust zone and enters into an unmanned vehicle configuration. The missile is designed to execute the mission autonomously without any external intervention and it also has the ability to reconfigure the flight-control system’s commands in response to different on-board events and failures. The FCSS uses body rates, liner accelerations, attitudes and positions obtained from the RLG-INS for all control loops. Baro-altitude obtained from an air data sensor is used by the navigation system for vertical channel damping and a radar altimeter is used exclusively for low-altitude flights. The four linear fin-actuators are located around the turbofan in a narrow annular space. The desired stability and control of the missile in the cruise phase is achieved using four fin actuators and are individually commanded by the flight-control computer (FCC). 
The FCC is the prime computational hardware that performs the main functions of flight and mission control such as sensor data acquisition, sensor computation, longitudinal, lateral and directional control law execution, and provides the drive signals for on-board discrete events and actuators through 1553B and RS422 databuses. All the flight-control laws, mission control laws and safety logics are coded in strict adherence to DoD-STD-2167A and implemented in the FCC. The cruise phase capabilities of the missile are achieved through autonomous waypoint navigation. In this mode, the missile exhibits its capability to control the trajectory in vertical and horizontal planes while maintaining the desired track. Also, this system is designed with no restriction on the heading change between the waypoints.
The maiden launch of Nirbhay LACM’s ground-launched version was conducted on March 12, 2013 during which it flew for 20 minutes and thereafter deviated from its flight path due to a failure of the on-board MEMS gyroscopes and accelerometers, and consequently its on-board self-destruct mechanism was activated. The second launch was conducted on October 17, 2014 at ITR, Chandipur, and was a big success, with the LACM travelling 1,010km instead of the targetted 800km.These two launches demonstrated several new indigenously-built technologies like automated pre-launch checks, booster-assisted launch phase trajectory control, stage separation in near-horizontal attitude, in-flight wing deployment, submerged air intake for engine and in-flight engine start. The repeatability of these achievements has demonstrated the systematic approach and robustness of the design. 
The second launch also demonstrated complete autonomous mission mode, comprising of cruise phase based on waypoint navigation and the terminal phase. The third test-flight on October 16, 2015 was again a failure. After 70 seconds of its flight, the missile lost control and fell within the safety zone. The fourth flight-test on December 21, 2016 was an utter failure, caused by a wing-deployment problem. After liftoff, the missile started veering dangerously towards one side in less than two minutes. The missile started flying beyond the safety corridor and threatened to fall on the land. So the “destruct” mechanism in its first stage was activated and the LACM was destroyed. It was undoubtedly a hardware failure due to a reliability issue with a component.
BrahMos-NG Explained
BrahMos Aerospace Ltd was established in India through an inter-governmental agreement signed on February 12, 1998 between Russia and India. The DRDO from India and JSC MIC NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) from Russia are the joint venture partners of BrahMos Aerospace, which was started with a capital of US$250 million with 50.5% from the Indian side and 49.5% from the Russian side. JSC MIC Mashinostroyenia comprises eight strategic companies: NPO Mashinostroyenia (Reutov, Moscow), JSC Production Association Strela (Orenburg), JSC Permsky Zavod Mashinostroitel (Perm), JSC Scientific and Production Association of Electro-Mechanic and JSC Makeyev State Rocket Center SKB-385 (Miass, Chelyabinsk), FSUE Avangard (Safonovo, Smolensk), FSUE Ural Research Institute of Composite Materials, or UNIIKM (Perm), NII Electromechaniki (Istra, Moscow) and Concern Granit-Electron (St Petersburg).
Unlike the ground-launched/ship-launched BrahMos-1 and its air-launched BrahMos-A version that can be carried only by the Su-30MKI H-MRCA, the BrahMos-NG (known earlier as BrahMos-Mini) will be lighter and narrower, enabling it to be launched by M-MRCAs like the Rafale, MiG-29UPG and carrier-based MiG-29Ks, and it will also be capable of being launched from a submarine’s 533mm torpedo-tubes.
The entire on-board avionics suite of the BrahMos-NG—which will have a high degree of communality with that on-board the Nirbhay family of LACMs—will be of Indian origin and it is now under development via the cluster of public-sector and private-sector industrial entities that are also involved with the Nirbhay’s developmental effort.
The SAAW Explained
The SAAW is a joint India-Israel project to co-develop an air-launched, standoff EMP-emitting missile, which, for all intents and purposes, will be India’s first operational precision-guided directed-energy weapon (DEW). It may be recalled that in the night of September 6, 2007 in the desert at Al Kibar, 130km (81 miles) from the Iraqi border and 30km from the northern Syrian provincial city Deir el-Zor, a fleet of ten IDF-AF F-15Is conducted OP Orchard, which involved the destruction of a heavy-water reactor then under construction with North Korean expertise and Iranian funding. In that raid, the IDF-AF had used a RAFAEL-developed precision-guided, standoff DEW to shut down Syria’s ground-based air-defence sensors—a move that would go on to be the optimum model for future surgical air-strikes. 
Israel offered to co-develop a variant of this DEW with India on July 7, 2008 during an official meeting in Pune with the DRDO. This was followed by two additional meetings held in Delhi with senior DRDO and IAF officials in August and September 2007. The joint R & D project officially began in mid-2010 and series-production of this DEW will commence later this year, with Indian industrial entities like Bharat Dynamics Ltd, ECIL and the Kalyani Group being involved in this undertaking.   This air-launched, fire-and-forget, expendable DEW, whose main role is to render electronic targets useless, makes use of the airframe of RAFAEL’s Spice 250 rocket-powered PGM, and will have a range of 120km. It is a non-kinetic alternative to traditional explosive weapons that use the energy of motion to defeat their targets. During a mission, this missile will navigate a pre-programmed flight plan (using fibre-optic gyros) and at pre-set coordinates an internal active phased-array microwave emitter will emit bursts of selective high-frequency radio wave strikes against up to six different targets during a single mission. The EMP-like field that will be generated will shut down all hostile electronics. Thus, the whole idea behind such a weapon is to be able to destroy an enemy’s command, control, communication and computing, surveillance and intelligence (C4SI) capabilities without doing any damage to the people or traditional infrastructure in and around it. In other words, it can eliminate a hierarchical air-defence network’s effectiveness by destroying the electronics within it alone, via a microwave pulse, without kinetically attacking the network itself.
For the IAF, this air-launched DEW will be a ‘first day of war’ standoff weapon that can be launched outside an enemy’s area-denial/anti-access capabilities, and fly a route over known C4SI facilities, zapping them along its way, before destroying itself at the end of its mission. Because of its stealthy design, long-range and expendability, it will fly where no other manned airborne assets could and because it does not blow anything up, its use does not necessarily give away the fact that the enemy is under direct attack in the first place. In that sense, it is also a psychological weapon, capable of at least partially blinding an enemy before it even knows that a larger-scale air-attack is coming. The IAF plans to arm its upgraded Mirage 2000Hs, Jaguar IS/DARIN-3 interdictors and the yet-to-be-delivered Rafale M-MRCAs with this DEW and also with RAFAEL’s Spice-1000 PGMs. Unguided test-launches of the SAAW from a Jaguar IS were first conducted at Pokhran in May 2015 to validate the weapons release/pylon ejection mechanisms, while the first powered test-flight was conducted on December 23, 2016. Both the IAF and IN have a stated requirement for 500 SAAWs.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Tale Of Two Aircraft Carrier Construction Programmes

Keel-laying for Project 71 IAC-1 took place on February 28, 2009 and the hull was launched on August 12, 2013.
About 83% of the fabrication work and 75% of the construction work had been completed by August 2015. 90% of the hull body has been designed and made in India, about 50% of the propulsion system, and about 30% of the fighting capability is of Indian origin.
China’s first indigenously built aircraft carrier, known now as the Type-001A, is expected to be launched by the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company (DSIC) in Liaoning province before June next year. Keel-laying took place in late 2013 and the 65,000-ton vessel is due for sea-trials by 2019.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Waging Retributive, Sustained Hyperwar

Despite all sanctimonious talk (about not retaliating with fire-assaults against ‘brotherly’ Muslim Kashmiris inside J & K’s Kashmir Valley) and bombastic bluster (about possessing full-spectrum strategic deterrence), all signals from across India’s western borders clearly point toward Pakistan being irretrievably bogged down by strategic and operational fatigue. And all this is due to—according to several retired senior Pakistan Army (PA) officers—India’s waging of multi-dimensional ‘Hyperwar’ against Pakistan on the psychological, military, economic and diplomatic fronts.
In fact, so lopsided is the present-day field deployment of the PA (with an alarming 57% now engaged in active LIC operations as against the peacetime norm of 33.33%) that hardly 11.6% of the PA is now being allowed rest & recuperation, again against the norm of 33.33%. Simply put, the PA even in the foreseeable future will be unable to go on the offensive in any theatre along Pakistan’s eastern front against India since, as per the PA’s own sequential OP-PLAN, it will be required to consolidate its gains along the Durand Line after the waging of the eight LIC campaigns (between 2004 and 2015) throughout the FATA badlands, while at the same time begin undertaking internal counter-terrorism campaigns all over Pakistan, to be followed by the launching of counter-extremism campaigns.
Clearly, therefore, the PA is neither capable of, nor is it equipped and stockpiled for waging any kind of LIC against its Indian counterpart, leave alone mulling any form of escalation at both the conventional and sub-conventional levels. Hence all the talk within Pakistan about the PA not retaliating in equal measure against India along both the LoC and the WB. But most importantly, since India late last September finally broke out of years of paralytic indecision and inaction on Pakistan’s 29 year-old proxy war, the aggressive Indian posturing backed up by actions on the ground have together produced two decisive results:

1) It has finally called Pakistan’s nuclear bluff and signalled that India’s armed forces will no longer be restrained from mounting punitive conventional or sub-conventional ground campaigns inside hostile territory with limited objectives in mind.

2) Throughout both the WB and LoC, India has seized and consolidated her moral ascendency, meaning that while India is free to take unrestrained retributive covert or overt operations against the PA, the PA on the other hand cannot do so due to its severely lopsided ground deployment footprint along its western and eastern borders.

This consequently has severely demoralised the civilian population residing within PoK, especially in areas adjacent to the LoC stretching all the way from Bhimber right up to Kel. While the IA today can do a repeat of what it did in 1993 (when through artillery fire-assaults it closed down the 200 mile-long Muzaffarabad-Kel Highway), the PA can no longer do what it did in early 1999 (when it interdicted the Srinagar–Kargil–Leh Highway by infiltrating its infantry forces over a frontage of 180km to a depth of 10km from Drass to Turtuk) under OP Badr because the IA is today sitting atop all dominating heights along the LoC and can therefore conduct artillery fire-assaults from no less than five different locations in order to bring all traffic along the Muzaffarabad-Kel Highway to a complete standstill.

Adding to the troubles of the civilian populace of PoK, especially those residing close to the LoC, are the apathetic responses of both Islamabad and the so-called AJK Government, all of which is glaringly illustrated in the two following video-clips:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn3jpkF4xk8


Headed For Financial Bankruptsy
The following three reports detail the extent of financial unsustainability of the country as it now exists:




The most glaring indictment, however, cam earlier from the United Nations Development Program in Pakistan’s outgoing country representative, Marc-AndrĂ© Franche, in the following interview:


The five main points of this interview were:

Pakistan's Progress on Development Isn’t Fast Enough
Franche is quoted as saying he is frustrated that a country full of “capable and intelligent” people isn’t making more progress on reducing poverty and modernising the state. “The fact that even in 2016, Pakistan has 38% poverty; it has districts that live like sub-Saharan Africa; that the basic human rights of minorities, women and the people of FATA [tribal regions in the northwest] are not respected; that this country has not been able to get its act together and hold a census; or that it has not been able to push for reforms in FATA, an area that is institutionally living in 17th century. It is extremely preoccupying,” he said.

The Country’s Political Class Uses Its Power to Enrich Itself
The UNDP official said that the country’s elites needed to change their lives to help Pakistan.  “You cannot have a political class in this country that uses its power to enrich itself, and to favour its friends and families. This fundamental flaw needs to be corrected if Pakistan is to transform into a modern, progressive developed country,” he is quoted as saying. He said that elites take advantage of cheap labour while partying in London, shopping in Dubai and investing in property abroad: “The elite needs to decide, do they want a country or not,” he is quoted as saying. Franche also had a word for the propertied classes: “I have visited some very large landowners, who have exploited the land for centuries, paid nearly zero money for the water, and how they almost sometimes hold people in bondage. And then they come to the United Nations or other agencies and ask us to invest in water, sanitation, and education for the people in their district. I find that quite embarrassing,” he is quoted as saying.

Local Governments Need Real Power
Franche said that provincial governments in Pakistan don’t have enough power.  “Only KP [the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province] has a decent law that gives real power and real money to the local government. Local government does not mean that you just elect them and deny them fiscal resources or power,” he said.

Pakistan’s Media Is Manipulated
He also said the media should be one of the pillars of democracy, but “unfortunately, the level of dependence of the government on military authorities, and the degree by which a lot of media in this country is manipulated by powerful sources, are sources of erosion of democracy and erosion of the institutions that are the foundations of this country.”

Country Needs More Opportunities

“The apartheid of opportunities in Pakistan is horrible, which is why so many young people are trying to leave the country,” Franche is quoted as saying. “Pakistan will not be able to survive with gated communities where you are completely isolated from the societies, where you are creating ghettos at one end and big huge malls for the rich at the other end. It is not the kind of society you want your kids to live in.”

(to be concluded)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Never-Ending Torrent Of Unkept Promises

“Aim for the sky and try developing more-advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) despite being incapable of developing far less-advanced UAVs over the past 28 years.” That’s what best exemplifies the track record to date of the MoD-owned Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), notwithstanding the tsunami of congratulatory messages that start flowing in from the MoD and DRDO every time a ‘desi’ UAV’s experimental technology demonstrator takes to the skies. Below is a brief track record of the DRDO’s UAV R & D efforts.  
Following EX BRASS TACKS in 1986, there arose a requirement by the Indian Army for a tactical UAV capable of conducting battlefield surveillance. Consequently, it was decided in September 1988 that the DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) would indigenously develop this 380kg UAV, known as Nishant.
The Army finalised its General Staff Qualitative Requirement (GSQR) in May 1990, following which the first Nishant UAV technology demonstrator made its maiden flight in 1995. It was rail-launched from a hydro-pneumatic launcher imported from Finland, while its powerplant was a VRDE-developed twin-cylinder RE-2-21-P piston engine developing 21hp and weighing 10.5kg. By 2002, the Army had placed an order for eight Nishants along with two ground control systems worth Rs.800 million (US$17.9 million). 
User-assisted trials commenced in late 2008 and the confirmatory user trials at Pokhran were conducted in February 2011, following which the first four UAVs and their launch vehicles were delivered. However, the Army in 2015 refused to place a follow-on order for eight Nishants (each costing Rs.22 crores) and two ground control systems after a spate of crashes involving the already-delivered Nishants.
Recovered by a parachute, the Nishants were invariably damaged structurally and rendered unusable for long periods.
A wheeled version of the Nishant, named Panchi, has been under development by ADE since 2013 and its first technology demonstrator, powered by a VRDE-developed  four-cylinder RE-4-38-P engine (developing 38hp and weighing 22kg), made its maiden flight on December 24, 2014. No orders for this UAV have been placed by any end-user so far.
The ADE-developed Rustom-1 tactical UAV is powered by a single imported Lycoming O-320 engine developing 150hp and it made its maiden flight on November 11, 2009. Its production deliveries were due to commence in late 2013, but to date that has yet to happen.
The Rustom-2 MALE-UAV, powered by twin imported Austro Engine AE300 diesel engines each rated at 170hp, made its maiden flight on November 15, 2016. Its design was completed by February 2012 and in September 2013 a Rustom-2 technology demonstrator without any mission payloads began full-power taxi trials.
To be co-developed by the MoD-owned DRDO, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) at a cost of US$46 million, ihe initial requirement for this MALE-UAV is for 76 for all three armed services. The 3rd and 4th airframes underwent a design validation phase that ended in January 2016 and are meant for technology demonstrations and technical trials by the ADE. The 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th airframes for user-evaluations have been ordered as well. 
Today, the Rustom-2 minus its mission payloads weighs 2,400kg and efforts are on to try to reduce it to 1,700kg ONLY AFTER delivery of the first 24 airframes to the end-users, which have mandated that the Rustom-2’s multi-sensor payloads must weigh no more than 360kg and its endurance should be 25 hours.
The DRDO has so far claimed that the Rustom-2 will be capable of undertaking surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations and will therefore be capable of carrying different combinations of payloads, such as medium-range electro-optic (MREO) sensors, long-range electro-optic (LREO) sensors, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), electronic intelligence (ELINT) sensors and communications intelligence (COMINT) sensors.
However, only R & D work by IRDE on developing MREO and LREO sensors and by LRDE on SAR have been launched to date. The Ku-band SAR employs a mechanically steered planar-array antenna, instead of an AESA antenna as is now the global norm. 
Thus far, no R & D work has been initiated on the development of either compact COMINT/ELINT payloads, or a Ku-band SATCOM-based data-link system for beyond-line-of-sight flight-/mission-control.
Homegrown Mini-UAVs & Micro-UAVs
Since the previous decade, the ADE along with NAL and CSIR have developed several types of mini-/micro-UAVs, but none of them have as yet entered service.
HAL on the other hand has taken a route of its own when it comes to developing or marketing UAVs.
Lastly, there are the UAVs being offered by private-sector entities.