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  • Writer's pictureBrahmastra Aerospace

Aero India 2023: How TAPAS and Archer Can Change Drone Warfare and Reduce Dependence on Israel

India is reliant on Israel for sophisticated unmanned aerial vehicles... TAPAS is DRDO's ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, Tracking, and Reconnaissance) solution for the tri-services, whereas UAV Archer is a weaponized drone.

Tapas and archer

Various aircraft put on a variety of displays at Aero India 2023, but an eye in the sky above all these metal birds impressed everyone.

TAPAS (Tactical Aerial Platform for Advanced Surveillance) captured and relayed the entire air display live from an altitude of 12,000 feet, leaving spectators wondering who was taking these aerial shots of flying 'Suryakirans' and fighter jets.

TAPAS' video was widely praised for its high-resolution ground coverage; the clarity was so good that even ground markings on the tarmac were visible.

It's not just the video quality, endurance, and other features of the UAV that have people excited in the defence industry.

“We thought our capability has to be demonstrated and it was an occasion to see how well we capture from a distance," said Dr Tessy Thomas, DG -Aeronautical Systems, DRDO.


TAPAS is the DRDO's solution to the ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, Tracking, and Reconnaissance) requirements of the three services.

The UAV can operate at altitudes of up to 28,000 feet and has an endurance of 18 hours. The drone, which is based at the DRDO's facility in Chitradurga, Karnataka, can fly autonomously or via remote control and can operate in daylight or darkness.

"We have already shown an endurance of 18 hours, we have further capacity in flying duration of the UAV. It has a height of 28,000 feet. It is equipped with all modern electronic payloads and can determine whether an approaching aerial vehicle is friendly or hostile. It has all payload capability, radar, and SAR systems," explained Dr. Tessy Thomas.

Archer, a more advanced version of the UAV, is being developed to improve endurance and payload capacity even further.

UAV Archer has been converted to a single engine system, resulting in a 1,000 kg weight reduction. It will be a drone that has been weaponized.

"With all capabilities and enhancements, we aim to reach 30,000 feet altitude with highly optimised systems. "It will be capable of line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight operation with auto take-off and landing," Dr Tessy Thomas explained.

India is currently reliant on Israel for sophisticated unmanned aerial vehicles.

Israel has supplied the country with Heron and Searcher-II drones. The success of UAV TAPAS and Archer could lead to India becoming self-sufficient in modern drone-based warfare.

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