New Delhi: India said Sunday it had completed a maiden test flight of an indigenously-built unmanned drone developed as part of the country’s efforts to reduce military imports.
“The aircraft was flown in a manner exactly as planned, up to a height of 3,000 feet (900 metres), remained airborne for 30 minutes and completed all mission requirements,” Defence Research and Development Organisation spokesman Ravi Kumar Gupta said of Saturday’s flight.
The drone, named Rustom, has a maximum flight time of 15 hours and is a prototype that the military intends to develop into more advanced models, officials said.
Israel, which in 2005 signed a 220-million dollar deal to sell 50 unmanned spy planes to India, remains one of the country’s largest suppliers of drones.
India has accelerated military procurement, including the purchase of drones, since the 2008 attacks in Mumbai by Islamist gunmen which left 166 people dead and more than 300 injured.
The United States regularly uses drones based in Afghanistan to attack Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal area.