The DRDO Puts Out A Glowing ‘Year Gone By’
Here’s all the good stuff DRDO did in 2014 packed into one glowing self-assessment. Some interesting data and nuggets if you’ve got the patience to sift through it. For instance, this is the first public official document to state the range class of the Nirbhay cruise missile. Text in full:
With increasing numbers of military systems indigenously designed and developed for the Indian armed forces being produced by Indian industries, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) continued on a path of building self-reliance. About 55% of the requirements for our defence forces are being met indigenously, largely with the technologies developed by DRDO, contributing greatly to nation’s economy. The production value of DRDO developed systems inducted or cleared for acquisition (excluding strategic systems) crossed Rs 1,70,000 crore.
The year 2014 witnessed yet another series of accomplishments with enormous potential to further enhance the level of self-reliance in defence technologies.
The 4000 km range road mobile nuclear capable ballistic missile AGNI-4, was successfully flight tested twice. The flight on 20th January, last among the development flights paved the way for flight on December 2 by the armed forces. Agni 4 is equipped with state of the art Avionics, 5th generation On Board Computer and distributed architecture. The missile is equipped with latest features to correct and guide it for in-flight disturbances. Its highly advanced Inertial Navigation System ensures high accuracy. It’s re-entry heat shield, capable of withstanding high temperatures that may reach as high as 4000 degree centigrade and above during reentry of missile in earth’s atmosphere, makes sure that the inside temperature remain less than 50 degree centigrade.
With Agni 1, 2, 3 and Prithvi already in India’s arsenal, Agni 4 further extends the reach and enhances effective deterrence capability. Besides, practice cum training launches of strategic missiles already inducted, such as Agni-1, Agni-2, P-II and Dhanush were carried out by armed forces.
Nirbhay, the 1000-km class long range sub-sonic cruise missile was successfully flight tested on the 17th October 2014. The flight lasted for over one hour and met all the mission objectives with missile following the predefined trajectory with very high accuracy throughout its path.
Maiden flight of PDV exo-atmospheric interceptor on 27th April 2014 was a significant milestone in the direction of developing a two layered Ballistic Missile Defence system. In addition to the interceptor itself, the two stage target for mimicking a “hostile Ballistic Missile approaching from more than 2000 km away” too was specially developed for the mission.
Productionisation and induction of Akash, the medium range air defence system with multi-target, multi directional capability was another remarkable achievement. Several squadrons of Akash (AF) have been inducted, with specified number of missiles from each production lot undergoing comprehensive flight tests in various operational modes before acceptance of the lot. Akash (army) has been accepted and is undergoing induction process. LRSAM, the long range surface to air missile was successfully tested against a flying target in Israel on 10 Nov 2014.
Successful trials of Helina, a “lock- on before Launch (Fire & Forget)” third generation Antitank Guided missile that can attack in both direct and top attack mode was integrated with advanced light helicopter (ALH). The missile with capability to defeat futuristic armors underwent successful field trials on 27th Jun 2014.
ASTRA-BVR (Beyond Visual Range) air-to-air missiles was successfully tested from a Su-30MKI by the Indian Air Force, demonstrating interception of an electronically simulated target at long range. The series of tests conducted have demonstrated the aerodynamic characteristics of the missiles and its repeatability, robustness and endurance capability as a weapon system.
A 1000-kg class guided glide bomb was designed developed and successfully tested. The bomb, after getting released by the aircraft and guided by onboard navigation system is capable of gliding accurately to its target even 100 km away.
Over thirty missions such as launches of strategic and tactical guided missiles kept the Integrated Test Range, the only one in the country, heavily engaged with activities throughout the year.
A four km long Rail Track Rocket Sled (RTRS) Penta Rail Supersonic Track, a national test facility was established and made operational bringing India among a handful of countries in the world now possessing this unique test facility. The RTRS will facilitate testing and evaluation of a wide range of critical systems such as payload for manned missions of ISRO, the navigation system for missiles and aircrafts, proximity fuses for advanced warheads, fuses for armament systems parachutes for payload delivery, arrester systems for aircraft such as LCA.
Even as the total number of flights of all the LCAs put together crossed 2800 mark, The Light Combat Aircraft -LCA program witnessed yet another milestone on November 8 when Tejas trainer PV6, the two-seater version of Tejas LCA for Air Force, in its first flight took to the skies and became the 16th Tejas variant to have flown as part of the program. Having absorbed all the major design modifications undertaken during the flights of earlier aircrafts PV6 is the final prototype leading to series production of trainer and has the capability to deliver all ‘air-to-air’ and ‘air-to-ground’ weapons deliverable by the single seat counterpart.
In another landmark event, LCA (Navy) Prototype 1 (NP1), the first indigenously designed and developed 4th plus generation combat aircraft designed to operate from the decks of air-craft carriers, took-off majestically from ski-jump facility of Shore Based Test Facility at INS Hansa in Goa on 20th December. The special flight control law mode of LCA-Navy allows hands-free take-off from the ramp and automatically puts the aircraft in an ascending trajectory. It is designed with stronger landing gears to absorb forces exerted by the ski jump ramp during take-off, to be airborne within 200 m as against 1000m required for normal runways. The Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) created to replicate the aircraft carrier with a Ski Jump for take-off and arresting gear cable for arrested landing, became operational for R&D as well as pilot training.
Two AEW&C aircraft having fitted with the indigenous radars and other equipment such as data links, mission system controller, data handling and display system; have been flying. A wheeled version of Nishant UAV named Panchi has been realized and had it’s maiden flight on Dec 24 after series of high speed taxi trials.
An expendable 450 Kgf thrust class Gas Turbine engine ‘Manik’ was developed for 1000 km class subsonic cruise missile [Nirbhay] and is undergoing endurance tests.
An advanced Parachute System meeting stringent requirements of Human Space Program (HSP-II) was designed developed and successfully evaluated by DRDO. The system developed for India’s manned space missions was successfully proven with the recovery of Moon Mission Crew Capsule flown into space by the GSLV Mk-III on 18th December. The parachute deployment system functioned perfectly and achieved the required descent rate.
A Heavy Drop System (P-16) for dropping form IL76 heavy lift aircraft was developed and is undergoing user assisted trials. The system consisting of a platform system suitably designed for harnessing & mounting of variety of payloads of 16 Ton class and a highly advanced parachute system to drop loads. The load typically consists of military stores such as vehicles (including BMP class), supplies and ammunition.
The first indigenously designed and developed Inflatable Radom to serve as a shelter to provide controlled environment for effective and continuous 24×7 functioning of sensitive systems such as RADARs for civil and military applications was installed. The inflatable structure consists of hemispherical envelope of coated fabrics with airlock tunnel, centrifugal air blowers, packaged air conditioners, electrical control system and emergency generator.
Phase-IV of user trials of Arjun Main Battle Tank Mk-II, that included Trench crossing and step climbing capabilities, were successfully completed. Development of Arjun Catapult 130mm Self-Propelled Artillery Gun, a blend of 130 mm SP Art Gun with Arjun chassis has been completed as per GSQR. DRDO’s internal trial validation has been completed and the Arjun Catapult is ready for Users trials. User demo trials of Pinaka Mk-II rockets with enhanced range were successfully conducted.
Successful User Assisted Technical Trials (UATT) of CBRN Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) and Multi-Purpose Decontamination System (MPDS) were carried out. User and DGQA trials of BMCS (Bi-modular charge system) using both Soltam and Bofors guns were completed. The trials included validation of manufacturing process. Dynamic trials of 120 mm Penetration-cum-Blast (PCB) ammunition for MBT Arjun Mk II were conducted successfully.
A man-portable modular military bridging system suitable for rapid deployment in mountainous regions and capable of bridging gaps up to 35 m successfully completed user assisted technical trials. The modules weighing less than 18 kg each allow the bridge to be constructed from near-bank without any access to far-bank. A 35m bridge can be launched in about one hour.
Three major radar systems namely Aslesha, 3D Tactical Control Radar (TCR) and Troop Level Radar (TLR) / Troop Control Center (TCC) successfully completed the evaluation of the First Of Production Model (FOPM) and are under production.
NABHRATHNA, a Flying Test Bed (FTB) based on a Dornier aircraft acquired from HAL was realized. The FTB serves as a test bed platform for evaluation of airborne Radars. FTB sorties with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) & Maritime Patrol Airborne Radar (MPAR) have been taken up successfully.
A series of secure communication systems based on Software Defined Radio, ranging from hand held sets to aircraft and ship based systems have been developed. The compact systems are capable of operating on multiple frequency bands, avoiding need for multiple systems. Dhruva-3, the latest in series of indigenous High Performance Computing Systems designed for solving mission critical Defence R & D applications and one of the fastest computing facilities in the country became operational.
Microwave Power Module (MPM), a compact transmitter employing a micro travelling-wave tube (micro-TWT) and a compact high efficiency electronic power conditioner was designed, developed and led to production with indigenous travelling-wave tube. The MPM has been incorporated in the indigenous Flight Level Radar (FLR) and Troop Level Radar (TLR).
ALTAS was realized with establishment of Towed array SONAR technology with 100% indigenous capabilities with two production centers. The system is designed to detect and identify submarines and underwater weapons. First technical trial on ALTAS has been conducted with satisfactory results.
ABHAY and HUMSA-UG compact sonars, ideal for fitment on smaller platforms for surveillance purposes, having advantages of reduced installation and maintenance load on the technical personnel were installed on two platforms and are undergoing technical trials. The hull mounted sonar HUMSA-NG has been installed onboard INS Kolkata and INS Komorta. Varunastra, the heavy weight torpedo and Maareech, the decoy system for defence against torpedo attacks successfully completed 10 and 12 sets of user evaluation trials respectively.
Development of indigenous materials is vital for successful development of military systems and some remarkable ones are mentioned: Enhanced protection level of Kanchan armour for MBT Arjun Mk-II was achieved without any weight penalty. Armour for Wheeled Armoured Platform, was successfully developed.
A challenging task of developing seven types of critical turbine parts, namely high pressure turbine blades, vanes, convergent-divergent starter nozzles, inner and outer shroud rings, integrally cast low pressure turbine rotor blisks and low pressure nozzle guide vane stator blings was completed for the development of the small turbofan engine.
The life sciences labs of DRDO continued with vigor, DRDO’s efforts to develop soldier support systems and processes to help the soldiers perform effectively in diverse and harsh conditions of terrain and climate encountered in the country.
Submarine Escape Set 120 M to assist safe escape from underwater vessels from depths upto 120 meters is undergoing trials. Mark I version of Submarine Escape Set is already in production.
‘Telemedicine System’ has been accepted for induction in Indian Navy. The system capable of exchange of vital medical information and advice in a secure manner through multiple channels (including satcom) will be installed in various IN ships as well as remote naval units.
A light weight Helicopter Oxygen System MkII has been developed and is undergoing user trials. Integrated Life Support System (ILSS) as LRU (line replaceable units) for ‘Tejas’ light combat aircraft has undergone certification processes. Integration and successful testing under all simulated flight profiles up to height ceiling of LCA was completed in high altitude test chamber. ILSS consists of systems such as Onboard Oxygen Generating System, Back up Oxygen System, Emergency Oxygen System, Oxygen Sensor, Electronic Control Unit, Breathing Gas Management Solenoid Valve and Quick Disconnect Coupling.
HAPO Bag MK-II, a lifesaving equipment for management of ‘High Altitude Pulmonary Odema’ was accepted by user for induction; MkI is already in production. Oxygen enrichment shelters for extreme altitude were designed developed, installed and handed over to the armed forces for prevention and management of Acute Mountain Sickness.
Computerized Pilot Selection System (CPSS) has undergone series production leading to installation at various Air Force Service selection Boards. Other Rank Trade Allocation System (ORTAS) Battery has been handed over to the users. Computerized Cognitive Battery item bank for the selection of officers has been handed over to Coast Guard Selection Board.
‘DEFENDER’, a DEPA impregnated mosquito net was accepted by users and is under production. As a part of the Jammu & Kashmir flood relief operations, DFRL Mysore supplied around 5 Tonnes of food materials.
The year 2015 awaits many more successes on the path of enhancing self-reliance in military systems. [ENDS]