The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced the successful flight test of the indigenously developed high-speed expendable aerial target (HEAT), called Abhyas.

The flight test was conducted at Integrated Test Range (ITR) off the coast of Odisha in Chandipur, India, on 29 June.

During the test, the target aircraft was launched from a ground-based controller in a pre-designated flight path.

The ITR also deployed a range of tracking sensors such as an electro-optical targeting system and radar to monitor the flight path.

This test demonstrated the aircraft’s performance at a low altitude, including sustained level and high manoeuvrability.

The air vehicle is designed and developed by India’s Defence Research & Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE).

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By GlobalData

Abhyas was launched with the help of twin under-slung boosters to provide initial acceleration to the vehicle.

The HEAT aircraft is powered by a small gas turbine engine, which helps to maintain a long endurance flight at subsonic speeds.

The vehicle is also equipped with an indigenous radio altimeter for very low altitude flight, a flight control computer for guidance and control, as well as a micro-electromechanical systems-based inertial navigation system.

Designed for fully autonomous flight, Abhyas also features a data link to allow encrypted communication between the Ground Control Station (GCS) and the target aircraft.

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said: “The development of this system will meet the requirements of aerial targets for the Armed Forces.”

DRDO chairman and Department of Defence R&D secretary Dr G Satheesh Reddy lauded the efforts of DRDO, Indian Armed Forces, and associated industry partners for the design, development and successful flight test of the air vehicle.

In December 2021, DRDO conducted a flight test of Abhyas.