Nishant UAV Powered By Indigenous Wankel Rotary Engine Takes Flight

April 5, 2009 -- The first ever indigenous Wankel Rotary engine, powering Nishant, the Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV), took off from a World War II abandoned runway near a village eight kilometres from Kolar in Karnataka. The maiden flight of the indigenous Wankel engine of a UAV, which took off yesterday morning, climbed to an altitude of 1.8 km effortlessly before cruising for 35 minutes.

The air vehicle was recovered safely at the intended place at a dried-up lake after a total flight duration of 40 minutes, a defence press release said here today. The event signifies achievements in many categories: It is the first time that a Wankel engine has been developed within the country and UAV flown with an indigenous engine.

The engine, a Wankel Rotary type, was a developmental project, which originated at the DRDO through VRDE, Ahmednagar, and was jointly designed and developed by NAL, a CSIR laboratory, VRDE, Ahmednagar, and ADE, Bangalore, it said. The Wankel engine is the first of its kind that was totally designed and developed in the country. Very few countries in the world have the capability to develop and master this technology, the release said.

This indigenous engine is expected to replace the present imported engine for Nishant.

Wikipedia: DRDO Nishant
The DRDO Nishant is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) developed by India's ADE (Aeronautical Development Establishment) a branch of DRDO for the Indian Armed Forces. The Nishant UAV is primarily tasked with intelligence gathering over enemy territory and also for recce, surveillance, target designation, artillery fire correction, damage assessment, ELINT and SIGINT. The UAV has an Endurance of 4 hrs & 30min. Nishant has completed development Phase and User trials.

The 380 kg Nishant UAV requires rail-launching from a hydro-pneumatic launcher and recovered by a Parachute System. Launches at a velocity of 45 m/s are carried out in 0.6 seconds with 100 kW power and subsequent launches can be carried out in intervals of 20 minutes. The Mobile Hydro-Pneumatic Launcher (MHPL) system mounted on a Tatra truck weighs 14,000 kg and boasts of a life cycle of 1000 launches before requiring overhaul.

Nishant is one of the few UAVs in the world in its weight-class capable of being catapult-launched and recovered by using parachute, thus eliminating the need for a runway as in case of conventional take-off and landing with wheels. (India-Defence)

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