Flying Wedge Defence Unveils India’s First Indigenous UAV Bomber FWD-200B

Defence Industry

New Delhi. With the unveiling of there first indigenous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) bomber by Bengaluru based Flying Wedge Defence (FWD) and Aerospace Technologies, India could be soon joining the elite group of nations which make this unmanned bomber.

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The history of unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) is closely tied to the general history of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). While the technology dates back at least as far as the 1940s, common usage in live operations came in the 2000s. UCAVs have now become an important part of modern warfare.

Over three-dozen countries in the World of Drones database have armed drones, but not all of them produced their UCAVs at home.

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Many countries seeking armed drone capability without the capacity to develop UCAVs domestically have turned to China. Chinese-made drones have been used extensively to combat extremism outside of China, but the Chinese military has avoided conducting lethal strikes themselves. According to a media report, in 2013,  China considered using a drone to kill a Burmese drug lord, but opted to capture and try him in court. He received a death sentence.

On May 3, Flying Wedge Defence and Aerospace Technologies,  an Indian defence and aerospace company,  marked a milestone in Bengaluru by unveiling the FWD-200B, pegged to be the country’s first indigenous bomber unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

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The FWD-200B is a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned combat aerial vehicle designed and manufactured entirely in India.

With a payload capacity of 100 kgs, it can carry optical surveillance payloads as well as precision air-strike weapons, the firm said.

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Speaking at a function to mark the unveiling of the UAV,  Suhas Tejaskanda, founder, said the FWD-200B fulfils India’s long-awaited dream of producing a combat UAV indigenously after years of failed attempts by agencies like the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

“A key highlight is the massive cost reduction achieved. While an imported US Predator drone costs a staggering Rs 250 crore, the Indian-made FWD-200B will be available for just Rs 25 crores — a tenth of the cost,” the firm said.

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Tejaskanda said this demonstrated the company’s commitment to self-reliance and positions India as a leader in cost-effective defence solutions.

“For over 15 years, India’s pursuit of combat unmanned aircraft remained a distant dream, despite significant investment and repeated attempts by DRDO with projects like Tapas and Rustom failing. Today, with the launch of the FWD-200B, India not only fulfils this dream but also joins the league of nations with advanced combat aircraft capabilities,” said Tejaskanda.

“While the US Predator costs a staggering Rs 250 crores, our indigenous FWD-200B, built with state-of-the-art technology and manufactured in India, slashes the cost to a mere Rs 25 crores. This not only demonstrates our commitment to self-reliance but also positions India as a leader in cost-effective defence solutions”, he added.

The manufacturing plant for the FWD-200B is a 12000 sq ft unit on 1.5 acre land in Electronic City. The bomber aircraft has a payload capacity of 100 kgs and is classified as a MALE Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (medium-altitude, long-endurance). The Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) consists of optical surveillance payloads and is integrated with missile-like weapons for precision air Strikes.

“With a 12-20 hour endurance, 200 kts/370 kmph max speed, and 200 km ground control station range, the FWD -200B is envisioned as the “nation’s eagle eye” and an aerial shield against threats,” the firm said, adding that its unveiling marks a major boost to India’s Make in India initiative and reduces dependency on costly imports for strategic defence equipment like UAVs.

Incorporated in 2022 by Tejaskanda, the company aims to reduce India’s reliance on costly bomber UAV imports, boost the Make in India initiative and position India as a global drone manufacturing and technology hub while enhancing national security.Flying Wedge Defence and Aerospace has also secured the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) type certification for indigenous UAV technology and has deployed drones to safeguard the Indian Prime Minister in partnership with Special Protection Group (SPG) and L&T.