HAL Warrior Combat Air Teaming System [CATS]
Warrior is part of an indigenous program called Combat Air Teaming System [CATS], described as "a composite amalgamation of manned and unmanned platforms which work together to penetrate heavily defended enemy airspace." The Warrior drone is being designed to operate with an Indian-made Tejas combat aircraft flown by an Indian Air Force pilot, which it will defend and fight with as they go into combat together. The first Warrior prototypes are expected to fly within three to five years and is being funded by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL). A full scale replica of India's first-ever semi-stealth drone was showcased at Aero India, the mega air-show which kicked off in Bengaluru in February 2021.
Multiple Warriors will be commanded by a single Tejas. The idea is to maximise the effectiveness of every mission while reducing the potential of losing the lives of precious pilots since they would be accompanied by the drones which would protect them. The Warrior is being armed with air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles which would be used to hit targets on the ground or in the air.
In the CATS mode three to four such drones could be flying about a 100 kms ahead of the manned systems providing the mother aircraft with battlefield situational data. The Wingman will have its own radar and sensor and will carry a Precision Guided Munition (PGM) which could be a laser guided bomb or an air-to-surface missile (future versions could also carry an air-to-air missile). A two-way secure data link like that of ALPHA-S will also empower the connect between the Wingman and mother aircraft.
By February 2020, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd set to formalise a partnership with an Israeli firm that specializes in autonomous weaponry to produce advanced Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) manufactured in India. The advanced Heron TP, which belongs to the Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) class with an endurance of over 36 hours, will be manufactured to cater both to Indian requirements for a combat UAV and possibly exports to third nations in the future as well. HAL is set to sign a partnership pact with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) at the upcoming DefExpo 2020 in Lucknow this week, with estimates that in the Indian market alone, there is a requirement of at least 100 drones of this type. The Heron TP is an advanced version of the Heron UAVs that are currently in service with the three forces in a reconnaissance role.
The HAL Warriar is not to be confused with the entirely unrelated project of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization), which is working on the remotely-piloted "Rustom" (English: Warrior) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in the Medium-Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) category with prospects for an armed version to evolve.