According to a member of the U.S. government delegation at Aero India 2023, a prototype of the Air-Launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (ALUAV) built jointly by India and the United States is set to undergo flight testing later this year.
Major General Julian C. Cheater, Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of the U.S. Air Force for International Affairs, said in a press conference on the eve of the air show that “there is definitely progress with respect to the ALUAV; this project arrangement was signed last year, and we are expecting to conduct flight testing as early as the fall [September-November] of 2023. Both a range in the United States and one in northern India will be used for the flight testing, according to Major General Cheater.
ALUAV Project Agreement was signed by the Indian Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Department of Defense in 2021 as part of the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative’s Joint Working Group Air Systems (DTTI).
The primary organisations for carrying out the project agreement are the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) in Bengaluru, the Aerospace Systems Directorate of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Indian and U.S. Air Forces.
Major General Cheater stated that the C130J aircraft will be used to launch the ALUAV, which is being built to be launched from an aircraft.
“We will build sensors for the package, and we anticipate that the C130J aircraft will most likely launch this specific UAV. That denotes a project agreement for seven years. This long-term arrangement, which also incorporates technology transfer, marks a significant development in the bilateral partnership, according to Major General Cheater.
F-35 involvement at the fair
According to a member of the delegation, if the United States does send its F-35 stealth aircraft to Aero India 2023, it will be the most sophisticated aircraft there.
“The F-35 would be the most technologically sophisticated fighter in the world if they attended this air show. You should keep an eye on the sky and keep an eye out for the other aircraft that would be arriving later, said Rear Admiral Michael Baker, a top defence official and the defence attaché at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. We currently have two F-18s on the ground, as well as two F-16 Vipers.
The delegation added that it would be premature for the United States to give India the F-35.
Ambassador A. Elizabeth Jones, leader of the U.S. mission to Aero India, stated that the United States and India are cooperating in many ways to guarantee a free and open, wealthy, connected, and resilient Indo-Pacific region where democracy may flourish.
“As partners, we are tackling climate change, enhancing global health and preparing for future pandemics, collaborating on cyber issues, constructing high-quality infrastructure, and ensuring sustainable supply chains. From semiconductors to space components, we are stepping up our cooperation in these key technological areas, according to Ms. Jones.