Sunday, November 16, 2008

‘Sudarshan’ aims to strike with precision

After registering significant success with conventional missile systems, India is all set to test its first laser-guided missile at the Interim Test Range, Balasore.

The missile, Sudarshan, is the latest weapon system developed indigenously to occupy the niche of a precision delivery mechanism. It can neutralise any target in a 800-1,000 km range with a zero margin of error.

Developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment, Bangalore, Sudarshan is a versatile missile that can be used by the army, navy and air force. It suits the requirements of the artillery for a long-distance strike weapon. The navy can also fire it from an onboard launcher.

“The first version will use a ground-based launcher. However, subsequent ones could be fired from a flying fighter or drone. This will enhance the range,” a source told Express.

Sudarshan will use a laser of a specific frequency bandwidth to locate the target. The laser creates a heat signature on the target. The missile recognises the signature and homes in on it even if the target is moving, sources said. “The target can be spotlighted using laser beamed from a ship or air. The onboard systems can light it up and the missile follows the reflected light to reach targets that need pinpoint accuracy,” said the source.

However, unlike the practice of giving continuous laser guidance to a missile using an aircraft or a handheld designator, Sudarshan’s instrumentation enables it to chase a target once the navigation systems lock in on it. The ADEis equipping the missile with global positioning system technology. Like all modern missiles, it will have a three-dimensional locking mechanism using latitude, longitude and elevation.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

India developing new-gen radars

India is developing new generation radars with multi-function capability that can be integrated with any weapon system, a Defence Research and Development Organisation official said on Tuesday.

Electronics & Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), a DRDO lab, has initiated development of medium power radar and a 150 km low level transportable radar with such capabilities, including surveillance, interceptive guidance, raid assessment, target ac quisition, close tracking and potential ones like fire control, LRDE Director S Varadarajan said.

For example, Rajendra radar that LRDE developed is tied-up or “totally married'' with surface-to-air-missile Akash but the new radars being developed with hardware, configuration and power level that are highly programmable.

“Our ultimate mission is to extend it for multiple missions and multiple functions'', Varadarajan told reporters here. “The radars that we are making will be a little-more broadbased. It can be integrated with any weapon system''.

“Once these radars are put into the inventory of users, depending on the software configuration, they can be made to work in different environment'', he said. LRDE is also developing a synthetic aperture radar which would be capable of generating images of targets.

“SAR will be capable of measuring the target up to a metre of accuracy''. Varadarajan also said LRDE has initiated development of active electronics scanning array radar for airborne applications. These radars are intended to be integrated with Tejas Li ght Combat Aircraft-Mark II in 2012-13.

“An active electronics scanning array radar in a fighter aircraft is one of the key elements to managing weapon systems, giving enhanced surveillance and fire power'',

Advanced Technology Vehicle

Called the Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV) programme, the indigenous vessel is likely to join the naval service in about five years.

India has been painstakingly gaining experience on nuclear submarines by including them in its annual bilateral naval exercises with naval powers such as US, UK and Russia called the Malabar, Varuna and Indra series respectively.

All these preparations are meant to help India in getting the most crucial element of the nuclear weapon triad -- the sea-launched weapon system on which Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is already working.

India currently possesses capabilities for ground-and air-launched nuclear weapon systems, but lack capability for a sea-launched system, which was to be tried and tested on the Akula-II submarines.

India successfully test fires 'Shaurya' missile

India successfully test fired 'Shaurya', a medium-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile, to be used by its Army. With a 600-km range, the missile is capable of hitting targets deep inside Pakistan and China.

The indigenous missile was launched from an underground facility with an in-built canister at 11.25 am from Complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, DRDO sources said in Balasore (Orissa).

The sleek missile, with a flight duration of 485 seconds, roared into the sky leaving behind a thick yellow and white smoke on a clear sunny day, they added.

The sophisticated tactical missile is capable of carrying conventional warheads with a payload of about one tonne. "With longer shelf-life, as it is stored in a canister just like the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, the Shaurya is easily transportable and user-friendly. This is a technology development project," DRDO sources said in New Delhi.

Though there was speculation that the missile was a land version of the under development K-15 submarine launched ballistic missile, DRDO sources said the surface-to-surface missile had nothing to do with K-15 'Sagarika' project.

"The missile was test fired from a 30-40 feet deep pit with in-built canister specially designed for the purpose. There was no water in the pit," the sources said.

"The test was conducted to check some of the vital parameters of Shaurya missile," the DRDO sources said. The solid propellant, two-staged missile is little over 10 metres in length and about half-a-metre in width, they said.

During the test, the missile took off vertically and its entire trajectory was tracked through an integrated system of sophisticated radars, electro-optical tracking instruments, a chain of telemetry stations positioned in different points and two naval ships placed close to the impact point deep in the Bay of Bengal.

As a precautionary measure, the district administration of Balasore temporarily evacuated 364 families residing within two km radius of the launch site and took them to safety at a nearby shelter before the missile test.

The launch of Shaurya has come nearly nine months after India had successfully tested the 'Sagarika' missile under the K-15 project this February off the coast of Visakhapatnam from a pontoon simulating the conditions of a submarine.