Bengaluru, March 29: India's plans to develop an Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) now awaits the final clearance from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). DRDO has tentatively named the project as Ghatak, though it was known as AURA earlier.
Confirming this bit to OneIndia, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Chief Dr S Christopher said that the high-power committee consisting of R Chidambaram and Dr V K Saraswat had submitted their report to the PMO.
While DRDO always maintained silence over this project, this is for the first time a top defence official has come on record giving some details on the programme.
Bengaluru-based Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the designers of Tejas, have been tasked to undertake the preliminary study for the programme.
The ADA team had received seed-funding to undertake preliminary work on Ghatak in 2009.
DRDO's Bengaluru-based Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) has already developed an engine (prototype), based on their expertise in developing Kaveri. The Ghatak engine is a dry variant of Kaveri, originally planned for Tejas.
When specifically asked about the recommendations of the committee, Dr Christopher said: "They are for it. They have recommended it."
Sources told OneIndia that the Project Ghatak file is lying with the PMO for some time now, with its financial implications holding up matters.
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On Nirbhay missile, the DRDO Chief said a suitable window between May-June is now being looked into for the next launch.
"We will also have a launch of Nirbhay with BrahMos seeker in December," he said.
DRDO is also working on an advanced version of Akash (Akash NG) which will have a maximum strike capability of up to 50 km.
Scientists also confirmed that work on Anti-Radiation Missile (ARM) is progressing ahead, but didn't give any timelines of the project.