The indigenously built advanced version of the ‘Lakshya’ Pilotless Target Aircraft has successfully demonstrated its full capability at a DRDO test conducted near Balasore in Orissa. The advanced version of the pilotless aircraft called ‘Lakshya-II’ flew at sea gliding at a height of 15 metres. During the flight duration of over half an hour, ‘Lakshya-II’ managed to dive down from an altitude of around 800 metres to just 12 metres whilst maintaining the required altitude for the specified time followed by auto climb-out.
The Lakshya-II pilotless aircraft has been designed and developed by the DRDO’s premier lab, the Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) which specializes in UAVs and flight control systems. Officials indicated that this was the 10th flight of Lakshya-II PTA and this was the first time that the ultimate capability of the Lakshya-II has been proven in accordance with the user's objectives. The entire flight was pre-programmed and has been a complete success.
As for the various capabilities of the Lakshya-II pilotless aircraft, it demonstrated various technologies and sub-systems including software correction to auto rudder scheme for the preventing the loss of mission and engaging and flying in way point navigation mode while carrying two tow targets. During the test-flight, one of the tow targets was released and the other was deployed while the way point navigation was on.
In early 2011, the Lakshya-II target drone had completed its first flight test by flying 32 minutes at low altitude. Lakshya-II was designed to fly down to 49-82 feet (15-25 meters) above sea level, simulating a low-flying cruise missile. The aircraft also demonstrated its maneuvering capability by simulating attacking aircraft. Besides, two ‘Lakshya’ targets can be flown and controlled by a common ground station. ADE officials added that the Lakshya-II will come in two versions, one of which can be recovered on land, the other at sea.
During the end of 2011, two successful flight tests took place in a span of a week which included the developed engine version of the ‘Lakshya’ as well as a digital version. These tests of ‘Lakshya’ pilotless aircraft were conducted to identify the precision of this advanced and a fully digitalized control system version of ‘Lakshya’. The test was done on a developed engine version to be used for aerial reconnaissance in a battlefield as well as target acquisition. The six-foot long micro-light Lakshya aircraft was test flown by the Indian Air Force personnel at very low altitudes since his was one of the pre-requisites of the users. The Mobile launcher to launch the ‘Lakshya’ pilotless target aircraft from anywhere and its global positioning system (GPS) to locate for recovery were used successfully.