India’s premier defence research agency, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has initiated the ground trials of SWiFT, 1-ton All Up Weight (AUW) Technological Demonstrator for the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (Stealth Bomber). The trials will be conducted on the first assembled prototype, which will be involved in a series of low, medium, and high-speed taxi testing to fathom aircraft’s performance and instrumentation by a ground control station to ascertain the functionality of the unmanned vehicle when it reaches a high speed.
SWiFT has been powered by an NPO Saturn 36MT turbofan engine, which is manufactured by NPO Saturn Russia, for powering advanced trainers, light attack aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that will be later replaced by Gas Turbine Research Establishment’s (GTRE) Small Turbo Fan Engine (STFE).
SWiFt is an advanced technology project, which prepares the Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) which enables consistent, uniform discussions of technical maturity across different types of technology. Further, SWiFT will collect data on the controllability of flying wing configuration, flying control, autonomous take-off and landing technology. Besides, retractable landing gear system, low radar signature and flying wing design data of the aircraft will be used for further improvements.
Specification of SWiFT
The wingspan of SWiFT is 5 metres long and the length is 4 metres long. The overall weight of the unmanned vehicle would be 1,050 kg. The command range of SWiFT would be 200 kilometres. Further, SWift will achieve an altitude of 6,000 metres above mean sea level and flight endurance of 1 hour will be proved.
Additionally, SWift’s validated technologies will be used in India’s Ghatak stealth flying wing combat drone-powered. Notably, SWiFT might also go into production as part of the unmanned wingman bomber program separately.
DRDO’s landing gear systems for Tapas and SWiFT UAVs
Earlier this year, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) also delivered retractable landing gear (RLG) systems for two different classes of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Tapas and SWiFT.
DRDO’s Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) laboratory has designed and developed the systems, which were delivered to Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) in Bengaluru.
The laboratory built a 3t RLG system for Tapas UAV and 1t RLG for SWiFT UAV. SWiFT’s RLG has been produced with the support of Indian industry and due inspection and certification of the Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC) and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA).