Breaking: BEL to manufacture 20 Archer UAV

Rustom : Tapas-BH 201 + Archer :

DRDO’s Rustom UAV program is an attempt to equip Indian Armed forces with Advance UAV technology which can not only per form ISR mission but can also take combat missions. This program has not been divided into two separate programs or products with lots of similarity between the platforms including LRUs and ground control stations. Line Replaceable Units (LRU) are modular components and usually sealed units of an aircraft, which are designed to be replaced within a short time without using very specialized tools. This means that the aircraft can quickly return to service, while the failed LRU is being tested and repaired.

The 1st spin-off of Rustom program is TAPAS-BH 201 and second one is Archer SR-UAV. The same ground control station can operate both the UAVs.

Tapas BH-201 Development :

Tapas is being developed for ISR missions but it by design supports the combat payload. A total of 76 Tapas drones will be inducted into the armed forces-the Army, 60; the Air Force, 12; and the Navy, four. HAL has been identified as the manufacturing firm for the first 5 Tapas which will be delivered by April next year in staggered manned. The flight control systems, avionics and data-linked systems for the first five Tapas drones are ready. As soon as the airframe is ready, these systems can be quickly assembled. Tapas has recently demonstrated flight altitude of 27,500ft and endurance of 18hrs. The UAV has proven the two critical technologies which are ATOL or Autonomous Take Off and Landing and the integration of the UAV’s flight system with indigenous GAGAN Satellite navigation.


Archer UAV is going to be a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) class of UAV and is based on NAL’s Light Canard Research Aircraft (LCRA). It was designed to replace or supplement the IAI Heron UAV in service with the Indian Army. As we all know that the Rustom-I was a technology demonstrator. The Archer UAV is spin-off of the Rustom-I with upgraded avionics architecture. It is going to be short range weaponized UAV, equivalent of the Hermes 550 class UAVs. It will be used for precise tactical reconnaissance, hit ground targets including high-value targets and bunkers, guide artillery fire, and conduct patrol missions in sensitive areas such as border and conflict zones. The UAV will be able to fire 4 indigenously developed Helina ATGM which can hit a ground target 7-8kms away. It can also fire Laser guided rockets. There are plans to even integrate archer with air-to-air missile being developed for DRDO’s MANPAD.

Archer UAV development Update:

The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has begun the development of an “Archer” medium range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) powered by a Turbojet engine. Last year, the specifications for the new UAV were revealed when the DRDO published an Expression of Interest (EOI) tender for four prototypes . The bid for the same has been received from 6 firms which includes:  Alpha Design Technologies Pvt Ltd, Bharat Electronics Limited, Kineco Limited, HAL, L&T & Lakshmi Machine Works Ltd.

As reported by Defence Reach, BEL has turned out to be L1 bidder for the Manufacturing Assembly and Integration of Archer UAV.

The first Archer UAV will be available within a year of the contract being awarded, with three additional prototypes scheduled for testing and flight certifications. Tender anticipates a first manufacturing order of 20 Limited Series Production units. The first 4 Archer from this lot will be used for various tests including the test of air-to-surface missile. These 20 units will be supplied to Indian Army and Air Force and if the armed forces are satisfied with the performance then 100 more units will be ordered.


Archer capabilities :

The Archer will have a weight of around 600 kg, payload of 200 kg and fuel capacity of around 150 kg. The UAV will have an endurance of 12 hours, service ceiling of 22,000ft and range of 220km with auto take-off and landing (ATOL) capabilities.

Watch the video here :-


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