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Indian Indigenous Drone Makes Maiden Public Flight

India conducted its maiden public flight of the Tapas-BH-201 unmanned aerial vehicle this week.

The indigenous platform covered 180 kilometers (112 miles) during the flight at Aero India 2023. 

The aerial display was live-streamed from an altitude of 1,500 feet (457 meters).

Decade-Plus Development

The Defense Research and Development Organization began developing the system over a decade ago, flying it for the first time in 2016.

The platform can operate at an altitude of 30,000 feet (9,144 meters), with a range of 250 kilometers (155 miles) and an endurance of 24 hours.

The 1,800-kilogram (3,968 pounds), 9.5 meter-long (31 feet) drone can autonomously take off and land, with day and night operation capability. 


The platform can carry a variety of payloads, such as electro-optical sensors and a synthetic aperture radar, up to 350 kilograms (771 pounds).

The aircraft has been designed for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. However, it can be armed with weapons as well.

The drone is powered by two Saturn 36T turboprop engines, each rated at 74.57 kilowatts 100 horsepower).

In 2022, the developers contracted Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to produce six Tapas airframes for user evaluation trials, which will be followed by mass production.

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