Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully carried out a maiden flight testing of Panchi, the wheeled version of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Nishant, capable of taking-off and landing by using small airstrips.
Panchi was designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a DRDO facility at Bengaluru. Panchi UAV has autonomous flight capabilities and is controlled from a user friendly Ground Control Station (GCS). Travelling at a maximum speed of 185 km/hour, it can cruise at a speed of 125 km/hour to 150 km/hour with a service ceiling of 3,600 meter.
The UAV Panchi has all the surveillance capabilities of UAV Nishant. However, it will have longer endurance as it does not have to carry the air bags and parachute system as in the case of UAV Nishant. Once operational, Panchi will join the ranks of other proven wheeled UAVs from across the globe, including Searcher, Heron, Global Hawk and Predator, capable of the conventional takeoff and landing.
It is designed for battlefield surveillance and reconnaissance, target tracking and localization and artillery fire correction. A sophisticated image processing system is used for analyzing the images transmitted from the UAV.