PICTURE: India's Rustom 1 UAV makes successful flight

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India has completed a successful test flight of the Rustom 1, a new indigenous unmanned air vehicle.

Developed by India's Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), the Rustom 1 flew for 12min, despite "inclement weather". The test flight took place at a general aviation airfield in Hosur near Bangalore.

For its first flight the UAV was controlled by an Indian army officer at the end of the runway.

© Aeronautical Development Establishment

The Rustom 1 has a planned endurance of 12-15h, can carry payloads of up to 75kg (165lb) and has a maximum ceiling of 25,000ft (7,620m). The UAV's datalink was designed and developed by India's Defence Electronics Applications Laboratory, while its airframe and most of its electronics were produced by Indian companies.

"This development is the forerunner to the medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV project Rustom H, which the lab will take up shortly," the ADE says. "It paves the way for the development of unmanned combat air vehicles in India. This UAV can be used by all three of the country's armed services."

A first test flight of the Rustom was conducted from Hosur in November 2009, but ended when the air vehicle crashed following a "misjudgement of altitude".