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India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation or DRDO conducted a successful flight test of ABHYAS, a high-speed expendable aerial target or HEAT from ITR Balasore. ABHYAS drone would be used as a practice target for several missile weapon systems used by the Indian Armed Forces. ABHYAS could also play the role of a decoy aircraft when required.
ABHYAS is an indigenously developed unmanned target vehicle developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment or ADE, a chain of DRDO. The choice of material for building ABHYAS is alloy. ABHYAS is considered to be more technically advanced than DRDO’s LAKSHYA, a target drone prototype.
ABHYAS can achieve 5 Km flying altitude above land and can touch the speed of 0.5 Mach, half the speed of sound. ABHYAS is said to have an endurance of 30 to 45 minutes and has a 2g turn capability. ABHYAS is capable of fully autonomous flight, which makes it a completely unmanned vehicle. ABHYAS is fitted with a gas turbine engine to initiate flight.
ABHYAS is powered with an indigenously developed Internal Navigation System(INS) on Micro- Electromechanical Systems(MEMS). ABHYAS can be maneuvered and guided through the air using the Flight Control Computer (FCC). These technologies enable ABHYAS with the capabilities of conducting surveillance operations on the border. ABHYAS is also very much capable of performing aerial reconnaissance on the battlefield.
ABHYAS drones would help evaluate the missile weapon system’s capabilities and air defense weapons since its visual and infrared signatures can be used to mimic an aircraft. ABHYAS can also be deployed as target practice for fighter jets. ABHYAS could also be used as a jammer platform for adversary weapon systems.
The Government of India recently procured 30 armed MQ-9B Guardian drones from the U.S.A for an estimated cost of 600 million dollars. Thus, developing indigenous drone technology could save a lot of money and reduce imports.