ALS-50, a loitering munitions displayed by Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) at DefExpo 2022, received the Raksha Mantri’s Awardsfor Excellence in Defence and Aerospace Sector on Friday (21 October).
ASL-50 has successfully demonstrated its ability to strike targets during tests at Pokhran. The system was able to hit the designated ground target accurately during trials. Earlier, it had demonstrated its ability to operate from high-altitude areas during trials in Ladakh earlier this year.
Built using lightweight composites, the system has a range of over 50 kilometres. It has five flight modes—fully autonomous, semi-autonomous, loiter, attack, and return home. The system is capable of Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL), which means it can take off and land like a quadcopter.This will allow the user to operate the system from areas with limited space, like narrow valleys in eastern Ladakh and Arunachal.
"ALS being indigenously developed, is adapted to the wide variety of Indian terrain and weather conditions," TASL says, adding that the system will soon be inducted in "one of the armed forces of India".
After takeoff, the system transitions into the fixed wing mode and flies to its target. It is equipped with an autonomous targeting system, which allows it to identify its pre-designated target and home into it.
Loitering munition can be used to destroy enemy targets that may be beyond line of sight, including high value targets like command centres and missile launchers, that may be located at a distance.
The system is useful in both surveillance and combat roles. It provides a live feed to the user, allowing them to guide the munition as required. It also has multiple built-in failsafe features, which ensures the "system can be aborted after launch, recovered, and made to re-attack the same or a different target", TASL adds in the literature distributed at the DefExpo.
Apart from TASL's ALS-50, loitering munitions developed by other Indian defence companies like ALFA-S by NewSpace Research and Technologies and Achuk by Redon Systems were also displayed at the DefExpo.