Jaitely to launch Aeronautical Test Range in Karnataka tomorrow


Team Udayavani, May 27, 2017, 5:40 PM IST

Bengaluru: The Rs 1,300 crore Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) set up in Chitradurga in Karnataka for testing unmanned and manned aircraft being developed locally, would be inaugurated by Defence Minister Arun Jaitely tomorrow.

The project at Challakere in Chitradurga, about 250 km from Bengaluru, has been planned and conceived by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) here in collaboration with other Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) labs.

The Karnataka government had allotted 4,290 acres for the ATR project taken up with the objective of building necessary infrastructure for testing and evaluating unmanned and manned aircraft being undertaken by aeronautic cluster labs in the DRDO, officials said.

The DRDO in November last year had successfully carried out the maiden-flight of TAPAS 201 (RUSTOM-II), a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV at the ATR in Challakere.

According to officials, the current length of the runway at the ATR is 2.2 km. It would be extended to 3.2 km in the due course, so that it can be used for testing of bigger aircraft like AEW&CS (Airborne Early Warning & Control Systems) aircraft meant for surveillance and intelligence gathering, which has been inducted into Indian Air Force.

Apart from DRDO, the multi-agency mega complex at Challakere will also house facilities of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Indian Institute of Science.

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