Lakshya 2 Pilotless Target Aircraft. Photo Copyright © Vijainder K Thakur
Lakshya 2 is an improved version of the Lakshya with digital flight controls and state-of-the-art navigation systems that is currently under testing.
Lakshya 2 is capable of programmed low altitude flight with Autonomous Way Point Navigation using Global Position Satellite updates.
It is launched from land or sea from a zero length launcher using a JATO rocket motor and recovered by a dual stage parachute system.
The aircraft can carry two targets on a 1.5 km-cable.
In case of emergency it can recover automatically.
The 705 kg drone has an endurance of 50 mins and a maximum life of 10 recoveries. It is powered by a single HAL PTAE-7 turbojet.
Lakshya first flew in 1985 and became operational in 2000. It is currently being used by all the three services.
Lakshya is commanded from the ground by telemetry.
So far HAL has manufactured 30 Lakshya-1 UAVs and has delivered to IAF (15), Indian Navy(05) and DRDO (10) during the period from 2006- 07 to 2011-12. [via PIB]
The PTAE-7 was designed and developed by HAL's Engine and Test Bed Research and Design Center (ETBRDC), the first turbo jet engine developed within the country.
It is a single shaft, light-weight, low cost, sea dunkable turbojet. It has a 4-stage axial transonic compressor driven by an axial turbine, annular combustor, digital electronic fuel control system and power control unit. The engine is rated at 373 daN (380 kgf). It can be refurbished and reused after recovery from sea or land.
The engine has an SFC of 1.15 kg./kg.f/hr, a dry weight of 65 kg, length of 1,270 mm. and a maximum diameter of 330 mm., and weighs 65 kg. The engine is designed with materials and features for protection against seawat
The first trial of the PTAE-7 engine was successful in January 2001.
The first Lakshya fitted with PTAE-7 engine flew from ITR, Chandipur in May 2002.
Low altitude flight trials of Lakshya-2 were conducted at Integrated Test Range (ITR), Balasore on December 20 and December 23, 2010. The objectives of the flight trials were.
On December 20, 2010, Lakshya-2 was programmed to fly at 25 meter above sea level and the objective was achieved. It flew for a distance of 10 km at 25 meter with average altitude deviation of less than 1 meter.
On December 23, 2010, aircraft was programmed to fly at 150 meter and the tow body flew at approximately 50 meter altitude. The flight took place for the programmed leg length of 20 Km.
DRDO is interacting with Armed Forces for Limited Series Production (LSP) order and industries as production partners.
IAF and ADE personnel successfully test flew a Lakshya 2 on Monday, September 12, 2011 for over 30 minutes at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) off the Orissa coast.
Earlier both the sea and land recovery versions of the PTA have been test flown successfully.
More trials are planned in the days ahead.
During trials on January 25, 2012, in a flight lasting over 30 minutes, the Lakshya was made to dive down from an altitude of around 800 m to just 12 m and maintained required altitude for the specified time before demonstrating auto climb-out. The entire flight was pre-programed and was totally successful.
The aircraft demonstrated its ability to fly in way point navigation mode while carrying 2 tow targets.
During the flight one of the tow targets was released and the other was deployed while way point navigation was on.
This was the 10th flight of Lakshya-II PTA and this was the first time that the ultimate capability of the Lakshya-II, was demonstrated achieving all the user’s objectives.