|Rustom-2 1:1 scale model at DefExpo - 2014|
Based on the dimensions of the model published in a RFP, the Rustom-2 MAL UAV has a wingspan of 20.4m and length of 10.1m.
In comparison, IAF's Israeli developed Heron MALE UAV, which the Rustom-2 is being developed to replace, has a wingspan of 16.6m and length of 8.5m.
Rustom-2 1/3 rd scale model dimensions
It remains to be seen if the Rustom-2's larger dimensions translate into better performance and capabilities. DRDO says the Rustom-2 would be able to carry 350-kg payload against the Heron's 250-kg, but the single engine Heron has a marginally better (40hr vs 35hr) endurance.
The Rustom-2 will have a strike capability. It will loiter autonomously at high altitudes performing ISR with its SAR nd EO sensors. When a target is identified, it will either illuminate the target with a laser designator for other strike aircraft, or descend to lower altitude and attack the target with its own air-to-surface missiles.
DRDO's decision to display the scale model raises hopes of a first flight in the near future. DRDO had initially hoped to test fly a manually piloted variant of the UAV by June 2014. It now appears that the test flight program has been pushed back till a ATOL is developed for better flight safety.
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Rustom-2 MALE UAV (IDP Sentinel)