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DRDO Nishant

India (2012)
Picture of DRDO Nishant Reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

The DRDO Nishant is an indigenous Indian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle primarily utilized in the intelligence-gathering role for the army and air force.


Detailing the development and operational history of the DRDO Nishant Reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.  Entry last updated on 3/20/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Joining other leading world military powers in increased use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is India whose Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) agency has furthered the DRDO "Nishant" initiative. The Nishant is an unarmed UAV intended for surveillance, reconnaissance, target acquisition and artillery support while also considered for a variety of other battlefield roles. The aircraft saw its first flight in 1995, cleared requisite Indian Army testing and has entered limited productionas of this writing (October 2013). The Nishant was born in an Indian Army requirement originating in 1988.

The Nishant makes use of a conventional aircraft arrangement and follows well-accepted UAV design form - particularly for low-altitude operations requiring extended loitering times and stability for its onboard optics payload. It features a central nacelle making up its fuselage which contains avionics and payload as well as powerplant and fuel stores. Wings are straight appendages mounted high atop the fuselage. The tail consists of a twin-boom structure joined at the rear by a single horizontal plane; outboard of this plane are vertical tail fins. There is no fixed undercarriage as the Nishant is launched via catapult system and recovered by way of a parachute and landing cushions to retard the fall. In this fashion, the Nichant's operation is somewhat less complex as is her overall production. Optics are held in a positional blister assembly located along the belly. A conventional engine installation drives a two-bladed propeller in a "pusher" arrangement at the rear of the aircraft. The Nishant weighs in at 400lbs and can carry a payload of 100 pounds. Dimensionally, the vehicle is given a length of 15 feet and a wingspan of 21.5 feet. Its design provides the airframe with a maximum speed of 115 miles per hour and cruising speeds nearing 80 miles per hour. Operational range is listed at 100 miles with a service ceiling under 12,000 feet.

The Nishant is launched from a hydropneumatic rail system seated on the bed of a Tatra series 8x8 military truck. The truck serves in other militarized forms (including rocket projector platform) and is a proven battlefield component, providing the Nishant with essentially all-terrain accessibility. Couple this to the aircraft's 4.5 hour mission endurance window and the system becomes a valuable tactical asset to Indian Army operations. The complete Nishant package includes a Ground Control Station (GCS), specially trained operators and applicable carriers of equipment to ensure proper operation of the UAV.

Early use of a Nishant occurred in July of 1999 by elements of the Indian Army over the disputed Kashmir region against Pakistani-aligned forces where its reconnaissance capabilities were put to good use. Since then, the type has been consistently modified to suit required Indian Army specifications including use of an in-house engine.

In May of 2010, The Times of India reported that a pair of Nishant UAVs had crash landed at the village of Jaisalmer. The airframes were scavenged by villagers before the arrival of the Indian military. This is in addition to a pair of incidences involving Nishants back in April of 2010 where the UAVs were forced to crash land during trials.

Any available statistics for the DRDO Nishant Reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 120mph
Lo: 60mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (115mph).

    Graph average of 90 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the DRDO Nishant's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
13
13


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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Origin: India
Year: 2012
Type: Reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Manufacturer(s): Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE); Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) - India
Production: 13
Global Operators:
India
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the DRDO Nishant model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
0


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
15.19 ft


Meters
4.63 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
21.56 ft


Meters
6.57 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
838 lb


Kilograms
380 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
1,213 lb


Kilograms
550 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x RE-2-21-P or RE-4-37-P engine developing approximately 55 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller assembly in "pusher" configuration.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
115 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
185 kph


Knots
100 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
99 mi


Kilometers
160 km


Nautical Miles
86 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
11,811 ft


Meters
3,600 m


Miles
2.24 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None. Surveillance- and reconnaissance-minded mission equipment as payload.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Nishant - Base Product Designation