India is reportedly preparing the wheeled-version of the indigenous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Nishant for its maiden flight, according to local media reports.
The Panchi UAV will reportedly be capable of taking off and landing from semi-prepared runways, thereby reducing the turnaround time between missions.
“We have completed the taxi trials and are readying it for the maiden flight. Panchi is currently undergoing some refinement and the mission readiness team will further asses the UAV,” a scientist working with the project from Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) told the Indian Express.
The Panchi can be used for reconnaissance, intelligence gathering missions over hostile territory, target designation, surveillance and also to assess damages during natural calamities.
Once operational, Panchi will join the ranks of other proven wheeled UAVs from across the globe, including Searcher, Heron, Global Hawk and Predator, capable of the conventional takeoff and landing, the report said.
“The handling of a remotely-controlled aircraft during its takeoff and landing procedures are extremely critical exercises. We have to ensure proper alignment of the aircraft to runway in addition to designing a control system with tighter control loops for quick corrections by the onboard system. Precise control of aircraft motion is required to assist the external pilot during various stages of the flight,” explained the scientist.
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