Maiden Test-flight of Panchi UAV
Panchi, the wheeled version of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Nishant, capable of taking off from and landing on small airstrips, had its maiden flight on December 24 from an airfield at Kolar in Karnataka. The flight lasted 25 minutes. The aim of the flight was to demonstrate that Panchi can take off and land on its wheels.
DEVELOPMENT OF PANCHI
Panchi was designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) facility at Bengaluru. Since the Army wanted a wheeled version of Nishant, the ADE quickly developed it with modifications to the hardware and software.
NISHANT Vs PANCHI
Nishant, which has an underbelly airbag, is launched by a catapult i.e. Tatra-truck based Mobile Hydro-Pneumatic Launcher (MHPL) and can be recovered by a Parachute System, thus eliminating the need for a runway.
Panchi is capable of taking off from and landing on small airstrips. It has all the surveillance capabilities of Nishant, but it can stay in the air longer because it does not have to carry the airbag and the parachute systems. It is also a light vehicle with its body made of composite materials, and has a high degree of stealth because it has a low radar cross-section signature.
Nishant which had already been with the Army, was designed for battlefield surveillance and reconnaissance, tracking of targets and artillery fire correction. A sophisticated image processing system was used for analysing the images transmitted by it.
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