The DRDO Rustom (English: Warrior) is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) being developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation for the three services, Indian Army, Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force of the Indian Armed Forces. Rustom is derived from the NAL’s LCRA (Light Canard Research Aircraft) developed by a team under the leadership of late Prof Rustom Damania in the 1980s. The UAV will have structural changes and a new engine. Rustom will replace/supplement the Heron UAVs in service with the Indian armed forces.
There will be three variants of the Rustom UAV.
- Rustom-I: Tactical UAV with endurance of 12 hours (based on NAL’s LCRA which was inspired by Burt Rutan’s Long-EZ)
- Rustom-H: Larger UAV with flight endurance of over 24 hours (completely different design from Rustom-1), higher range and service ceiling than Rustom-1.
- Rustom-II: An unmanned combat air vehicle based on Rustom-H model. It is often compared with Predator drones by Indian scientists and media.
Specifications of Rustom-1 and Rustom-H are as follows:
- Crew: none
- Payload: 95 Kg (165.3 lbs) and 350 kg (771.6 lbs) (for Rustom-1 & Rustom-H respectively)
- Length: 5.12 m (16 ft 10 in) and 9.5 m (31 ft 2 in) (for Rustom-1 & Rustom-H respectively)
- Wingspan: 7.9 m (25 ft 11 in) and 20.6 m (67 ft 7 in) (for Rustom-1 & Rustom-H respectively)
- Height: Rustom-1: 2.40 m (7 ft 10 in)
- Empty weight: 720 kg (1587.33 lbs) & 1,800 kg (3968.32 lbs) (for Rustom-1 & Rustom-H respectively)
- Rustom-I: 1 × Lycoming O-320 engines Four-cylinder air-cooled horizontally opposed engine, 112 kW (150 hp)
- Rustom-H: 2 × NPO-Saturn 36MT engines wing-mounted turboprop, 73.55 kW (~100 hp) each
- Maximum speed: 150 km/hr(Rustom 1) and 225 km/hr(Rustom 2) (139.81 mph)
- Cruise speed: 125-175 km/hr (Rustom 2)
- Line of sight: 250 km (156.25 miles)
- Relay Communication: 350 km (218.75 miles)
- Ferry range: 1000 km (625 miles) for Rustom-2
- Service ceiling: 26,000 ft for Rustom-1 and 35,000 ft for Rustom-H (8,000 m and 10,668 m respectively)