Nishant, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has been developed for the Indian army by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a part of the Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO), for gathering information over an area, surveillance, target acquisition, artillery fire correction, damage assessment and signal intelligence.
Nishant, which weighs about 375 kg, requires rail-launching from a hydro-pneumatic launcher at a velocity of 45 m/s in 0.6 seconds with 100 kw power, and the recovery process is through a parachute system. The subsequent launches can be carried out in intervals of 20 minutes. About 1000 launches can be made before it requires an overhaul.
Nishant, due to its weight, the capability of being catapulted and recovered by using a parachute, is one of the few UAVs in the world which jettisons the need for a runway for the conventional take-off and landing with wheels.
The UAV has a jam resistant datalink and a range of 160 km with an endurance of 4 hours 30 minutes. The UAV is modular in construction and can be packed in a pallet for easy transportation.