DRDO AURA (Autonomous Unmanned Research Aircraft) UCAV Stealth Bomber
AURA is an autonomous unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy.The Main role of AURA is to deplay as Unmanned Stealth Bomber.The design work on the Unmanned Stealth Bomber is to b carried out by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).
The ADA describes the AURA as a “Self-Defending high-speed reconnaissance UAV with weapon capability”.The AURO is UCAV with long range and have properties of ‘Stealth’ which makes it almost undetectable on defence radars.Unlike other UCAVs which only armed with missiles ,The AURA can be capable of releasing missiles,bombs and precision-guided munitions.It will act as the ultimate ‘force multiplier’ and ‘game changer’ in any battle scenario of the future.It is also known as Indian Unmanned Strike Aerial Vehicles (IUSAV).
What is Need/Purpose of AURA?
The purpose of the DRDO is to provide the Indian Air force with an option to deliver the payloads to enemy location without endangering the life of the pilot . This will act along side with the PAK-FA & HAL AMCA , the 5thGenerations of fighter aircrafts that will start showing up on the IAF inventory towards the end of this decade or start of the next. The AURA program is also meant to compete with the other programs to provide the IAF with the best technically advanced UCAV which will form the backbone of the airforce in the next decade .
Progress in the field of Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle –Rustom UAV
DRDO has already made progress in the field of UCAV with the introduction of RUSTOM -2 UCAV which if going through the trails & is expected to enter service in few years. With two or more prototypes being built till now ,DRDO is fast tracking its UAV/UCAV programs to meet the requirements of the IAF.It also expected that most of the basic technological requirements for developing the UAV/UCAV will be tested on RUSTOM programs first before being implemented on to the AURA project.
Design and Development of AURA
This is the most secret project of DRDO as most of the operational and technical details are still wraped in mystery.The UCAV’s design is similar to the American Northrop Grumman’s B-2 Spirit bomber.The AURA is mainly deploy for the various military missions which includes Deep penetration strike,Suppression of enemy air defences,strategic reconnaissance and electronic warfare.The Project cost is estimated to $1.5 billion ( Rs 8,250 crore).
Features and Specifications
The AURA will cruise at a medium altitude and will be capable of carrying two or more guided strike weapons with on-board sensors for targeting and weapon guidance.As the AURA uses Stealth Technology the UCAV itself has stealth shape and it has special paint that absorb radar signals and cannot send them back and hence not detectable by radar.IT is capable of flying at the altitude of 30,000 feet and has a range of 300+ km.The whole of the AURA is made by composite materials and weigh less than 15 tonnes.
The DRDO is going to use a Kaveri engine to power this unmanned vehicle.It will be equipped with on-board mission computers,data links,fire control radars,identification of friend or foe,and traffic collision avoidance systems.It will be adept at firing missiles and bombs at enemy targets with precision.
According to the DRDO chief Avinash Chander the AURA will be able to detect and identify targets and fire weapons at them and will be controlled with command and control centres spread across the country.The AURA will have short takeoff and landing capability on prepared runway.