Soon, an unmanned Hansa
By SP's Special Correspondent
Photo Credit : NAL
May 16, 2012 : The indigenous Hansa general purpose trainer aircraft could soon have an unmanned avatar. Maker of the all-composite aircraft, the Bangalore-based National Aerospace Lab (NAL), has tied up with private Indian player Kadet Defence Systems Ltd to spin off an optionally unmanned version of the Hansa. The aircraft, which first flew in 1993, and is now flown at six flying clubs across the country, has failed to make headway into India's armed forces as an ab initio trainer, one of its stated profiles.
The proposition of an unmanned version throws up the possibility of military use, perhaps as a tactical surveillance drone or for special missions. The seven-metre long aircraft requires 413-metres for take-off, has a maximum climb rate of 198 metres per minute, a maximum cruise speed of 178 km/h and an endurance of about four hours. It is also suitable for night flight operations. NAL is also looking to develop a fully new tactical UAV with Kadet Defence, though it is not known if this will be on a ready-made platform. The company already has UAVs, including the flying wing Firebee, and has pitched its Javelin-X products to the Army for a pilotless target aircraft requirement.