Speaking to Express from Delhi, Thapa had said that it was a very esteemed occasion for him to command the unit. It is a lifetime opportunity that has come my way and I am working hard to make it a success. The rehearsals have been good and we have fine-tuned everything before the big day, the 44-year-old Thapa said.
|Lt Col Thapa UAV Test pilot who commanded DRDO's R-Day contingent 2012|
Thapa hit the headlines after conventionally flying Rustom-1 UAV for the first time in October 2010, after which he piloted (externally) nine flights of Rustom-1. An officer from the Regiment of Artillery of the Indian Army, Thapa was certified as an external pilot from Israeli Aerospace Industries, Malat, Israel. He was the part of Army's UAV team since 2000 and had handled Searcher Mk-I Alpha and Searcher Mk-II UAVs.
ADE Director P S Krishnan had said that the lab couldn't have asked for more with a member of his team being chosen to command the DRDO R-Day team. A double honour for us, with Thapa and Rustom-1 chosen for the parade. The UAV by itself can be used for various reconnaissance purposes, though it is a technology demonstration vehicle for Rustom-2, Krishnan said.
In addition to Rustom-1, Thapa had in his company missiles Agni-4 and Prahaar, in addition to a tableau depicting gen-next technologies used while handling hazards of snow and avalanches.