FUFA Aircraft will support SWiFT UAVs, Astra Mk2 & MK3 Test, Rudram, SAAW & Glide Bomb Test

FUFA Aircraft will support SWiFT UAVs in Combat Missions

DRDO has started work on the development of Futuristic Unmanned Fighter Aircraft (FUFA Aircraft) that it hopes to make into a reality in a decade or so, but DRDO officially till now has not commented on the project nor acknowledged its existence. FUFA will be high subsonic stealth unmanned aircraft that can comply with 5th generation platforms in autonomous mode.

Since FUFA is a separate program from the Indian Unmanned Strike Air Vehicle its role will be to accompany 5th generation platforms like AMCA in Air superiority operations in the first wave to make it safer for manned fighter jets to follow in the second wave of attack. While Unmanned Strike Air Vehicle will have a role to carry out SEAD or Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses and DEAD Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses operations, FUFA along with AMCA will provide Air Escort to these platforms so that Air superiority is established in the scene of action at an early stage in event of war.

India to test Astra Mk2 & Astra Mk3 BVR Missiles in coming weeks

India is getting set to conduct a slew of tests of several indigenously developed advanced weapons. The tests include the Astra1 (100km range) and Astra-too (160km) beyond visual range air to air missiles are slated for this month. The Astra-2 will undergo its “first live launch” from a Sukhoi 30MKI fighter after completion of its carriage and handling trials as well as “dummy drops”. The Astra1, already under production by defence PSU Bharat Dynamics after the successful completion of its user trials, in turn will be tested for the first time with an indigenous seeker instead of the existing Russian Seeker from a Sukhoi jet.

The IAF has already placed an initial order for 250 Astra1 missiles, which flies over four times the speed of sound at Mack 4.5, to arm its Sukhoi fighters. The integration of Astra1 with the Tejas and Mig-29 fighters is also concurrently underway. DRDO is also planning to conduct the first test of Astra3, based on the solid fuel based ducted ramjet propulsion to enhance its range to 350km, by the end of this year. The all weather day and night capable Astra series of missiles, designed to detect, track and destroy highly agile supersonic fighters packed with “counter measures’’ at long ranges, will eventually replace the expensive Russian, French and Israeli BVR Missiles that are currently imported to arm IAF fighters.

India to test Rudram1, SAW Missiles & long Range Glide Bombs

Another test this month will be of the Rudram-1 that is designed to destroy a variety of enemy surveillance, communication and radar targets on the ground at a 150km range after being fired from fighter jets. DRDO is also developing Rudram-2 (350km range) and Rudram-3 (550km) air to ground missiles, which also have, INS GPS navigation with a passive homing head for the final attack. Trials of Rudram-2 should also begin soon. Rudram missiles are designed for suppression of enemy air defences from longer standoff ranges, to allow Indian Airforce strike aircraft to carry out their bombing missions without hindrance.

Then, tests of smart anti airfield weapons SAW, which are precision guided bombs designed to destroy enemy runways, bunkers, aircraft hangers, radars and other reinforced structures at a range of 100km, are also in the pipeline. 125kg glide bombs, based on two configurations of either satellite navigation or electro optical imaging infrared seeker are also going to be tested. A single Sukhoi can carry 32 such bombs. Separately, 1000kg heavy calibre glide bombs, with a 80km range, are also being developed.

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