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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Futuristic Indian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle - with flapping wings or insect-like motion

Future Indian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle [UAV] programme.

Ideas have been floated by India's defence R&D lab [the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), in this instance] giving a sneak peak, perhaps wildly speculative at this point, of the contours that any future Indian unmanned aircraft would take & the myriad of technologies that would need to be developed and proven for the realization of this project, when it eventually takes-off, 
The advanced technologies which will aid future aeronautical programmes are advanced aerodynamics covering CFD-based designs, stealth shapes, innovative airfoil designs and insect aerodynamics which will result in the development of nano air vehicles and flapping wings. Advanced airframe technologies will look into self-healing materials, nanocomposites, functionally graded materials, multi-functional materials, smart structures and structural health monitoring. In the area of controls, the autonomy levels will be higher, trying to reach levels of 7 to 8. Also, cooperative controls and adaptive controls are futuristic technologies that would govern future aeronautical programmes.
Of special significance is the ambitious target of attaining level 8 of autonomy in its UAV operations, up from the level 4 that current indigenous birds operate at. They've set the bar very high for themselves. Would be an achievement second to none if it attains maturity within a reasonable time-frame.