With the unmanned aerial vehiclehaving already completed development phase and user trials, Friday’s flight tests were pre-confirmatory trials before induction into the services, sources said. The state-of-the-art UAV has been developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment, Bangalore, jointly with DEAL, Dehradun, RDE (E) Pune and ARDE, Agra.The Army has placed orders for 12 Nishants.
4 LSP versions
But the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has produced four LSP versions of the UAV which will be tested under different conditions. Due to the proximity of the Devanahalli airport leading to air space restrictions, more LSP flight tests are being planned in the northern plains.
Another delaying factor behind fulfilling the Army order is the government’s inability to take a final decision on the manufacturer so far.
Bangalore-based defence public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) appears to be the obvious choice as the manufacturer. But there is a possibility that it may face competition from private players like Taneja Aerospace and Tatas. Kargil war. The UAV completed its 100th flight test in 2005.
While the Army appears to be satisfied with Nishant’s performance so far, the Indian Air Force has been critical of the indigenous UAV. Nishant’s “low endurance”, “unsafe recovery” and “inadequate payload” are being cited by the IAF as the reason to pitch for Israeli UAVs.