Monday, July 26, 2010

India conducts missile interception test, direct hit at Endo Atmospheric level

India today flight tested fourth consecutive successful Interceptor Missile test against Incoming Ballistic Missile in Endo atmospheric regime at 15 Km altitude at 1005 hrs and achieved direct Hit.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) made, single stage Interceptor Missile fitted with Directional Warhead and other advanced systems has neutralized the target which was mimicking incoming enemy Ballistic Missile.

To mimic the incoming enemy’s ballistic missile trajectory, a target missile was launched from Launch Complex – III, ITR Chandipur. Interceptor Missile fitted with directional warhead was launched from Wheeler Island and destroyed Target Missile which broke into fragments and was tracked by various Radars and other sensors. All weapon system elements including Command and Control, Communication and Radars performed satisfactorily.

Present among the user representatives’ were Air Marshal PK Barbora, PVSM, VM, ADC, Vice Chief of Air Staff, IAF and Maj Gen VK Saxena, ADG, Army Air Defence, Indian Army.

India conducts missile interception test, direct hit at Endo Atmospheric level

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ISRO's great expectations

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K Radhakrishnan was upbeat when he met the media after the successful launch of PSLV-C15 and gave details of the future programmes like Chandrayaan-2 and the manned mission.

He made it clear that the manned mission involved just putting astronauts in space and not on the moon. Chandrayaan-2 was in its advanced stages of design. The idea was to make a soft landing on the moon and release a small rover for lunar exploration that can be controlled from ground. The rover prototype model has already been made and the project would be ready for launch by 2013.

For the manned mission, at least two astronauts would be sent to space. While the launch vehicle was almost ready, ISRO is working on the capsule design. A crew escape system in case of emergency is vital for a manned mission. It has now been defined.

After the capsule is ready, it would be sent unmanned to space in 2013 using PSLV to monitor it in orbit for at least seven days. If all goes well, astronauts would next be put in space using the capsule with GSLV-MK3 as the launch vehicle.

The avionics of the project is currently under development. “We have to put in place a proper environmental control life support system with thermal controls. For launching human beings and bringing them back, a high reliability vehicle is important. New facilities that we need include a new launch pad, a facility to take care of crew before they go and after they come back, a mission control centre and an astronaut training centre,” the scientists said.

The government had approved a pre-project study for Rs 95 crore in 2006. Proposals have been submitted and approval awaited.

“The existing PSLV can’t be used. It has to be modified. We have two launch pads right now but none can be used for the manned mission. A third launch pad is now being proposed for which a location has been identified. Approvals are now awaited. A second vertical assembly building programme also has to be initiated. The entire manned mission project would cost close to Rs 1,000 crore,” said Satish Dhawan Space Centre director M C Dathan.

ISRO to launch more satellites this year

After successfully placing five satellites in orbit on Monday, India's space agency ISRO said it will launch more satellites this year and efforts were on to put two Indians in space orbit.
"We will launch GSat-5, a communication satellite, using GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) rocket. The other launch will be Resourscesat-2, a remote sensing satellite, using the rocket PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle)," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K Radhakrishnan said in Sriharikota.
He was talking to reporters after five satellites, including the advanced high resolution cartography satellite Cartosat-2B, were placed in orbit following the successful launch of the PSLV rocket from the spaceport here, about 80 km north of Chennai.
He said: "The next PSLV rocket will carry multiple satellites - Resourcesat-2 and two small satellites."
According to ISRO officials, the organisation has all the sub-systems to assemble the PSLV rocket. The launch is slated before October this year.
"The work on assembling the GSLV rocket will start on Wednesday and the launch is expected to be by September-end or October first week," said PS Veeraghavan, the director at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre.
On the manned mission planned by ISRO, Radhakrishnan said the space agency has laid the road map to put two humans in orbit for seven days.
"For manned mission we have to have the orbital capsule-module to carry the humans - life support systems and escape systems for the astronauts in case of an emergency. The systems are being designed and the concept has been reviewed," said S. Ramakrishnan, the director of the ISRO's Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre.
"The first phase is to design the orbital vehicle. Once it is built the design will be evaluated by launching it in a PSLV rocket. That will give us confidence. The avionics needed for that rocket is complex and have to be developed."
"The first phase will look at the critical technologies needed for human flight and the second phase is to get the human rating for the rocket and the orbital vehicle," said Radhakrishnan.
The second phase of the human flight mission is to build a new launch pad and astronaut training centre.
"The new launch pad and accompanying facilities needed for human space flight will involve an outlay of Rs 1,000 crore," said MC Dathan, the director of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
Earlier in the day, five satellites weighing 819 kg were placed in orbit.
Over 20 minutes after the blast off, the PSLV rocket first released the Cartosat-2B followed by Alsat-2A and the three small satellites. This was the first successful launch after Radhakrishnan took over as ISRO chairman last year.
"With the launch of Cartosat-2B, ISRO will have 10 remote sensing satellites in orbit - IRS 1D, Resourcesat 1, TES, Cartosat 1, 2 and 2A, IMS 1, RISAT-2, Oceansat 1 and 2," S. Satish, the ISRO director (publications and public relations), said.
India is a world leader in the remote sensing data market and earns a sizeable amount.

India evaluating Patriot ground-based air defence system


India is evaluating the advanced Patriot ground-based air defence system for its ballistic missile shield and the US has provided "classified" material to it on the weapon unit, which was successfully used during both Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Patriot's manufacturer Raytheon said on Tuesday.

"A number of exchanges have taken place between the government of India and the US and information has been given to India at the classified level," Joseph Garret, Vice President of the company's Patriot Programmes told PTI.

Replying to questions, he said tests of the Patriot system, which has been procured by 12 countries, by India's Defence Research and Development Organisation and other agencies had been "highly successful".

On India developing its own missile defence shield, Garret said, "Patriot system gives a major boost to any country's defence capability. India may be developing its own system, but Patriot is a combat-proven weapon system."

Fresh trial of ballistic missile likely next week

Balasore, July 20: Preparations have begun as India plans to conduct a fresh trial of its tactical ballistic missile to build a credible defence shield for intercepting and destroying incoming missiles, informed sources.

The Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile test is likely to be conducted early next week, sources added.

The trial may be conducted on July 26 or 27.

The test involving coordinated flight of missiles hostile missile and the interceptor missile would involve both the ranges of Interim Test Range Dhamra as well as Chandipur.

During the trial, the interceptor missile would shoot down an incoming `enemy missile' as part of its efforts to build a credible ballistic missile defence shield.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has built both the missiles, according to sources.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

India's Akash missile ready for production, induction

After several years of delay, India's indigenously developed Akash surface-to-air missile is now ready for production and induction in the armed forced.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which has received orders worth Rs 27,000 crore from both the Indian Army and Indian Air Force for the weapon system, is all set to start the production process along with its industry partners.

“The weapon system for the Akash missile is now ready for production and induction.

“This is a major milestone for DRDO and its industry partners. It is also an essential step towards indigenously developing more complex air defence weapons for the future,” a DRDO official was quoted as saying by Financial Express.

The Indian Army had recently placed an order for 12 batteries of the medium range Akash missiles. Earlier this year, the IAF had ordered six Akash missile squadrons in addition to two squadrons already procured by it. Each squadron comprises 125 Akash missiles.

The medium range anti-aircraft missile Akash was developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) of India. The missile was intended to replace the Russian-made SAM-6 Kvadrat missiles.

The Akash surface-to-air missile. A DRDO photo

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Manned flight, next on ISRO's list

An unmanned test crew module will be put into orbit by ISRO in 2013 as a prelude to the country’s maiden manned mission to send two Indians into space. ISRO also said on Monday that a third launch pad, at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore, is proposed to be built at Sriharikota, where the rocket that will take the Indian astronauts into space, will be assembled and blasted off. ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan said the space agency plans to launch the first test unmanned mission with an unmanned capsule on PSLV, which will be put into orbit and recovered soon after the mission.

Talking to reporters here after the successful launch of remote sensing satellite Cartosat-2B and four other satellites by the PSLV rocket, he said that in the next three months ISRO will launch GSLV-F06, which will carry a communication satellite, and PSLV-C16 with a remote sensing satellite on board.

ISRO has prepared a road map with an initial plan to put two humans in orbit around earth, keep them there for seven days and bring them back safely, Mr Radhakrishnan said.

Mr Radhakrishnan said all new elements for the unmanned launch have been designed. “We have gone to system concept reviews. The first level of definitions and specifications have been drawn up,” he said. “We need to have the orbital vehicle, namely the capsule and its design and then develop the environmental control and life support system, which will be followed by crew escape system that will be very vital in case of mission abort,” he said. These modules will be evaluated by launch of PSLV unmanned mission, he said, adding it would give them confidence, help evaluate the total system for its survival in the space environment on how the entire system behaves. To a question on whether ISRO had set a timeframe for the manned mission, he said, “I don’t want to commit the date unless we start the programme”.

Mr Radhakrishnan said scientists will work on the crew model, which will have an environmental control life support system. “We are also working out a very high reliability vehicle, capable of putting crew module with adequate number of persons,” he said.

Mr Dattan, director of SDSC said a proposal has been given to the government for approval to set up a third launch pad at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore. “Preliminary design of the third launch pad is now going on with various experts. Location of the launch pad has also been finalised taking into account the safety measures,” he said. “

Once approval is obtained, the third launch pad and other infrastructure activities for the manned moon mission will come up,” he added.

“We also propose to set up one more vertical assembly building, similar to what we have now. This will be capable of assembling the existing and forthcoming advance vehicles,” he said.

Mr Dattan said the programme has already been initiated and will start once government accords approval.

Monday, July 12, 2010

PSLV launch successful, 5 satellites placed in orbit

In a textbook launch, India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) on Monday successfully placed into orbit, the remote sensing satellite Cartosat-2B and four other satellites, after a perfect lift off from the space-port in Sriharikota.

At the end of an over 51-hour countdown, the 44.4 metre-tall four-stage PSLV-C-15, costing Rs 260 crore, blasted off from a launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre with ignition of the core first stage and placed the satellites in orbit one after the other.

Visibly relieved scientists, headed by ISRO chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan, cheered as ISRO's workhorse PSLV soared into clear skies at 9.22am from the spaceport in the East Coast in Andhra Pradesh, about 100 km north of Chennai.

The PSLV launch assumes significance as it comes about three months after ISRO suffered a major setback on April 15 when the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D3), which was launched using an Indian-designed and built cryogenic engine for the first time, failed and fell into the Bay of Bengal.

Cartosat-2B is an advanced remote sensing satellite built by ISRO. This is the latest in the Indian remote sensing satellite series and the 17th in this series.

Cartosat-2B is mainly intended to augment remote sensing data services to the users of multiple spot scene imagery with 0.8 metre spatial resolution and 9.6 km swath in the panchromatic. Cartosat-2 and 2A, two Indian remote sensing satellites in orbit, are currently providing such services.

A set of four satellites including Studsat built by students of seven engineering colleges in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Alsat from Algeria, two nano satellites from Canada and Switzerland, and a pico (very small) satellite called Oceansat 2 accompanied Cartosat 2 on its trip to orbit.

Planning Commission Vice-Chairman Montek Singh Ahuluwalia, and former ISRO chief Dr K Kasturirangan witnessed the launch.

"It has been a wonderful experience. The ISRO has made the country proud," Ahluwalia said, congratulating the scientists after the perfect take off.

The Cartosat-2B carries a panchromatic camera similar to that of its predecessors - Cartosat-2 and 2A and was capable of imaging a swath (geographical strip of land) of 9.6 km with a resolution of 0.8 metre.

The multiple spot scene imagery sent by Cartosat-2B camera would also be useful for village/cadastral level resource assessment and mapping, detailed urban and infrastructure planning and development, transportation system planning, preparation of large-scale cartographic maps, preparation of micro watershed development plans and monitoring of development works of village.

Alsat from Algeria, weighing 116 kg, is also a remote sensing satellite. The two nano satellites, NLS 6.1 and NLS 6.2, weigh six kg and one kg each. Studsat weighs less than one kg.

Besides launching 17 Indian satellites, PSLV has also launched 22 foreign satellites during 1994-2009 into polar sun synchronous, geosynchronous transfer, highly elliptical and low earth orbits and has repeatedly proved its reliability and versatility.

One important modification compared to the previous flights of PSLV is the use of dual launch adopter to carry two large satellites, ISRO sources said. Soon after injection into the orbit and separation from the PSLV C-15 fourth stage, the two solar panels of Cartosat 2B will be automatically deployed, they said.

Attributing the success of PSLV C-15 to the entire team behind the mission, ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan said, "We had an excellent flight. It injected precisely the five satellites. The entire ISRO team is behind the success".

In an apparent reference to the failure of GSLV D3 cryogenic stage, the space agency's first mission after he took over as its chief, he said his team of scientists were inspired to work "especially after the last few weeks after a serious problem that we faced." "And I also want to say we have understood the problem with regard to the indigenous cryogenic engine and stage. We will confirm it in a few weeks with a few tests and then we will come back", he said.

ISRO outlines plans to send Indians into space

An unmanned crew module will be put in orbit around the earth by a modified Polar Satellite Launch (PSLV) in 2013 as a forerunner to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) sending two Indians into space, S. Ramakrishnan, Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, ISRO, said here on Monday.

India has plans to send two Indians into space in a low-earth orbit and they will stay in space for about a week before returning to the earth. A third launch pad, at a cost of Rs.1,000 crore, will be built at Sriharikota, where the rocket that will take the Indian astronauts into space will be assembled and launched.

Mr. Ramakrishnan told a press conference here, after the successful PSLV-C15 flight, that the module in which the Indian astronauts would go into space had already been designed. The life-support systems, the thermal-proofing on board the module and the crew escape system in case of an emergency had already been defined. “We are also planning a launch pad abort for the crew in case of an accident,” Mr. Ramakrishnan said.

ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan explained that the ISRO needed a highly reliable vehicle to take humans into space. Such rockets were called human-rated vehicles. Certain crucial facilities such as a new launch pad for sending human beings into space had to be built at the spaceport in Sriharikota. Facilities to handle the astronauts when they returned to the earth also needed to be built here. In the first phase of India’s Human Spaceflight Programme, these critical technologies including the re-entry technology would be developed. In the second phase, a human rated vehicle would be developed. In the third phase, astronauts would be trained to go into space. Normally, it took three years to train an astronaut, Dr. Radhakrishnan said.

Narayanamoorthy N., Chief Executive, Human Spaceflight Programme, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, said the most important technology to be developed was the crew escape system. In the programme’s first phase, the module that would take the crew into space and a PSLV with a modified first stage would be built. An unmanned module, it would be identical to the final module. A host of technologies including life-support systems aboard the module and avionics would be developed in India with the help of research laboratories and industries, Mr. Narayanamoorthy said.

The location for the third launch pad site had been decided upon, said M.C. Dathan, Director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. It would boast of a vehicle assembly building where not only the ISRO’s current but future vehicles would be stacked up.

R.R. Navalgund, Director, Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad, said Cartosat-2B, launched on Monday from Sriharikota, could be used in a variety of ways, depending on the imagination of the user. The images taken by its panchromatic camera could be used for planning roads in villages, building harbours, preparing accurate maps, keeping a watch on encroachments, and for various infrastructural activities, said Dr. Navalgund.

(Cartosat-2B’s images will have a resolution of 0.8 metres. In other words, the satellite from a height of 637 km, can take pictures of objects on the earth, which are three-feet long. The images can be used for estimating the acreage and the yield of crops; for finding out various types of forests and how thick the vegetation is; for laying ring roads and digging new canals; keeping a watch on mangroves and coral formations, and estimating the amount of water available in reservoirs and big lakes).

Mr. P.S. Veeraraghavan, Director, VSSC, said a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV - F06) will lift off from Sriharikota by the end of September or the first week of October this year. The stacking of its stages would begin in the second launch pad from July 14 (Wednesday).

A PSLV-C16 rocket would put in orbit Resourcesat-2 by the middle of October. It would also put in orbit two other satellites. The stacking of the PSLV-C16’s four stages would begin in August at Sriharikota.

Friday, July 9, 2010

ISRO launches RH rocket with student’s payload

ISRO has successfully launched the RH 200 rocket, which had a part of its payload developed by students from Vellore Institute of Technology University (VITU) in Tamil Nadu.

The RH 200 rocket, a technology demonstrator flight, was launched on July 7 from Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) attached to Vikram Sarabhaio Space Centre, a VSSC release said today.

The payload developed by the VITU students was part of ISRO's initiative of encouraging varsity students as partners in payload development.

The students' payload comprised tri-axial accelerometers, power switching module and safe arm relay unit matching the requirements of RH 200 rocket, the release said.

The tri-axial accelerometer can monitor accelerations in all three directions. The power-switching module is for the power control of the payload.

The faculty and students of VITU had taken keen interest during the development and test activities of these payloads at various work centres, it added.

The students of the Indian Institute of Space Technology (IIST) were also progressing well in their attempt to make the first indigenous "students' rocket" with support of the experts from VSSC.

In its endeavour to handhold the student community, ISRO has included a picosatellite designed by undergraduate students across India, in its forthcoming PSLV-C15 mission.

The decision was taken with the aim to provide hands-on experience in frontier areas of space technology such as design, fabrication and realisation of a space mission at a reduced cost.

After the successful flight of the Advanced Technology Vehicle ATV D01, this was a major step to demonstrate the performance of super capacitors in flight pyro systems activation. The flight successfully tested the super capacitor developed by VSSC.

So far TERLS has recorded 2291 flights of sounding rockets and this is the 395th flight of RH 200 rocket.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Astra test-fired for second consecutive day

India on Wednesday test-fired Astra, the indigenously developed beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile at Chandipur near here, hours after carrying out the first night trial of the weapon.

The sophisticated missile was fired from a launcher at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) complex, about 15 km from here, at 2.07 pm, defence sources said.

The second consecutive trial comes after the missile was test-fired for the first time for night trial in inclement weather conditions on Tuesday night. The data generated were being thoroughly examined by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists, the sources said.

The single stage, solid-fuelled Astra is more advanced in its category than the contemporary BVR missiles and is capable of engaging and destroying highly manoeuvrable supersonic aerial targets, DRDO scientists said.

The 3.8-metre-long missile, which has a diameter of 178 mm, can carry a warhead containing explosives weighing 15 kg and can be fitted to any fighter aircraft.

It is intended for eventual integration with the IAFs Sukhoi-30 MKI, MiG-29, Mirage-2000, Jaguar and the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, the sources said.

Describing Astra as a futuristic missile, the scientists said the weapon could intercept targets at supersonic speed (mach 1.2 to 1.4).

Before being made fully operational, the complex missile system will undergo some more trials, though tests of its navigation, control, air frame, propulsion and other sub-systems have been validated, the sources said.

Though the exact range of Wednesday’s trial was not disclosed, DRDO scientists are working to ensure Astra performs effectively at different altitudes — one cruising at an altitude of 15 km with 90 to 110 km range, another at an altitude up to 30,000 ft, having a range of 44 km and the third at sea level with a range of 25 km, the sources said.

The trials of Astra, conducted on January 11 this year from the same base, were successful.

Monday, July 5, 2010

PSLV-C15 rescheduled for July 12:ISRO

The launch of ISRO`s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C15) fixed for July12th, 2010. A marginal drop in the pressure in second stage of the vehicle was noticed during the mandatory checks carried out on the PSLV-C15 vehicle. This is the new date for the launch of PSLV-C15 mission which has been decided after preliminary results of the analysis obtained.

PSLV-C15 is planned to launch India`s Cartosat-2B, an Algerian satellite ALSAT-2A, two nano satellites NLS 6.1 and NLS 6.2 from University of Toronto, Canada and STUDSAT, a satellite built by students from academic institutions in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Cartosat-2B is declared to be launched on the date July 12 from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh

India all set to roll out indigenous naval LCA

India is all set to roll out its indigenous naval Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) facility in Bangalore on Tuesday, which will be witnessed by Defence Minister A K Antony.
"The first indigenous naval Light Combat Aircraft – the LCA (Navy) NP1 - is scheduled to roll out from HAL Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) hangar on July 6," a Defence Minister official said here on Monday.

An important milestone for the naval programme of Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the aircraft would be brought out of the hanger where it was assembled part-by-part during the roll-out.

Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma will be the chief guest at the event. The aircraft is being readied for induction into the Navy and for deployment on board the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC), currently under construction at the Cochin Shipyard, by 2015.

Following the roll-out, the Naval LCA, with state-of-the-art technologies and punch, will be ready for the phase of systems integration tests leading to ground runs, taxi trials and flight trials.

Once the ground based tests are completed , the 'NP1' is expected to fly by the end of this year and the NP2 is likely to fly by the end of 2011.

The government had sanctioned the LCA (Navy) programme in 2003 and the first stage of development included design and fabrication of a trainer and a fighter - NP1 and NP2 respectively - along with a Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) at Goa naval air base, which has already come up.

The SBTF is being used to simulate carrier take off and arrested landing and as a training facility for future pilots of the naval LCA.

It is also being used for training on the newly acquired MiG-29K fighter jets, bought from Russia to be operated on the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, which is under a repair and refit programme in a Russian shipyard. The LCA (Navy) NP1 would be flying with the GE-F-404-IN20 engine and is designed for Ski-jump Take Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) operations.

The only carrier-borne aircraft in the light category in the world, Naval LCA will be operating with a wide variety of operational weapons and equipment like the Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile, anti-ship missiles, conventional bombs, air defence guns, counter-counter measures and drop tanks.

The ADA is responsible for design, development, ground test and flight test of both the Naval and Air Force versions of the LCA. HAL is the principal partner of ADA in this task.

The Indian Navy, the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA), all have played an important supporting role in the development of the Naval LCA right from its inception, the officials said.

Astra missile likely to be test fired

Astra, the Beyond-Visual-Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM), is likely to flight tested from the Integrated Test Range (ITR).

While two days are slated July 6 and July 7, sources said most likely the flight testing of the missile would be carried on July 7 (Wednesday) and a team from production unit has reportedly reached this place.

On the last occasion on January 11 this year two trials of the missile were conducted successfully.

The sophisticated missile is envisaged to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft at supersonic speeds in the head-on mode at a range of 80 km and in tail-chase mode at 20 km.

The missile is intended for the Indian Air Force's Sukhoi Su-30MKI, Mirage 2000H, Mirage 2000, MiG-29, MiG-21 Bison and Tejas combat jets, as also the Indian Navy's Sea Harrier jump jets.

Astra, which uses solid propellant, can carry a conventional warhead of 15 kg.

It is the smallest of the missiles developed by the DRDO in terms of size and weight.

It is 3.8-metre long and has a diameter of 178 mm with an overall launch weight of 160 kg.

The missile could be launched from different altitudes - it can cover 110 km when launched from an altitude of 15 km, 44 km when fired from an altitude of eight km and 21 km when the altitude is sea-level .

Besides, plans were afoot to test-fire its indigenously designed and developed Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile from the ITR in the last week of this month when India eyes to develop a full fledged multi-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system, and accordingly preparations for the trial were underway.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

DRDO develops UAV 'Netra' to aid in anti-terrorist operations

India's defence research agency DRDO has developed an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) specifically for anti-terrorist and counter insurgency operations, which will be inducted into the armed forces by the year-end.
The 1.5 kg UAV, called 'Netra', is a collaborative development project between ideaForge, a company formed by a group of Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, alumni and one of Defence Research and Development Organisation's Pune-based labs, Research and Development Establishment (Engineers) (R&DE) Pune.
DRDO scientist Dr Alok Mukherjee, who demonstrated the UAV, here yesterday said Netra would be ready for induction into the services within the next six months after it is subjected to some more trial tests.
"The UAV is capable of operating in all the conflict theatres, including urban quarters, in a situation similar to that of the 26/11 terror attacks.", he told reporters here yesterday.
Mukerjee said the estimated cost of Netra is Rs 20 lakhs, but the price could vary if additional components like thermal camera are added as per the requirements of the security agencies concerned and their use.
IdeaForge, vice-president (Marketing and Operations Unmanned Systems) Amardeep Singh said the UAV has been designed to carry out surveillance in an area of 1.5 KM Line of Sight (LOS) and has an endurance capacity of 30 minutes of battery charge.
Apart from that, Netra is equipped with a resolution CCD camera with a pan/tilt and zoom to facilitate wider surveillance. It can also be fitted with thermal cameras to carry out night operations.
Singh said the operational altitude of the UAV is 200 meters maximum, having a vertical take-off and landing capacity (VTOL) and is equipped with a wireless transmitter. In addition to that, the in-built fail-safe features allows Netra to return to base on loss of communication or low battery.
Asked if the UAV could function in all-weather condition, Singh said the machine cannot be operated in rainy conditions but research is being carried out to make Netra function even during monsoon.

Friday, July 2, 2010

DRDO working on more advanced version of Arjun MBT: Saraswat

After receiving orders for 124 more Arjun main battle tanks, the DRDO has decided to supply an advanced version of the weapon system to meet the requirements of the Army.

"We will have the modifications (on Arjuns) that the Army is looking for," Defence Research and Development Organisation chief V K Saraswat said here on Thursday.
He was asked if the DRDO had any plans of delivering a more advanced version of Arjun to the Army as part of the next order. The DRDO chief was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function to mark the golden jubilee of the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS).

Saraswat said that the DRDO had already started working on the mark II version of the tank, which will incorporate a number of modifications that have been sought by the Army.

"We have to make certain modifications in the tank, which we call the Arjun mark II version. Development process on mark II is already in progress and our scientists and the Army are working together," Saraswat said.

The DRDO chief said the decision by the Army to place orders for 124 more Arjuns will ensure that the assembly line of the tanks is "engaged".

Army has till date placed orders for 248 Arjun tanks of which 124 have already been delivered to it. The orders for additional 124 tanks was placed after the comparative trials in March and April this year.

The comparative trials between the Arjun and the Russian T-90 were carried out to decided the future of the tank in the Army, during which the indigenous tanks reportedly performed satisfactorily.

The DRDO wants the Army to place orders for at least 500 Arjuns to recover its investments before staring work on the futuristic main battle tank for the service.
Commenting on the role of INMAS during the recent Mayapuri radiation leak case here, Saraswat said, "INMAS also has the expertise of detecting nuclear radiation and we provided the fastest response to the casualties there. We were able to send our teams within four hours and we also found out the level of radiation."

India to test missile defence shield once again in August

It's a no-brainer that with two long, unresolved borders with nuclear-armed China and Pakistan, India needs to develop an effective missile defence shield as soon as possible. The good news is that India is planning another test of its fledgling ballistic missile defence (BMD) system next month.
BMD systems, however, are incredibly complex. They have to detect, classify, track and then hit a fast-incoming hostile missile with interceptors or anti-missile missiles with virtual pinpoint accuracy, all within a matter of minutes. No one, after all, wants nukes to leak through the so-called shield. And if there are multiple enemy missiles, it becomes all the more formidable.
Even the BMD systems of US, Russia and Israel are yet to be proven in actual conflict. The US, of course, has spent billions of dollars on its missile defence systems like Patriot Advanced Capability-3, Aegis BMD-3 and THAAD (terminal high-altitude area defence) system, the last of which was tested as recently as Tuesday.
But DRDO remains upbeat about its seemingly unrealistic claim that Phase-I of its two-tier BMD system, designed to track and destroy hostile missiles both inside (endo) and outside (exo) the earth's atmosphere, will be "ready for deployment'' as early as 2012.
Phase-I is designed to intercept enemy missiles with a 2,000-km range, while Phase-II is meant to tackle 5,000-km range missiles, as reported by TOI earlier. While Phase-I interceptors fly at 4.5 Mach high-supersonic speeds, Phase-II ones will have hypersonic speeds of 6-7 Mach.
"The next test is going to be conducted in August during which we will try to intercept a missile at an altitude of 15-20 km,'' DRDO chief V K Saraswat told reporters here on Thursday.
This will be the fifth test of the Phase-I BMD system. The first three tests, in November 2006, December 2007 and March 2009, when the enemy missiles were `killed' at altitudes of 48-km, 15-km and 80-km respectively, were successful. But the fourth, on March 15 this year, had flopped.
"The anti-missile system is a two-tiered one, where you first launch the target (enemy) missile and then you launch the hit missile. Since the target was not launched as planned (on March 15), the anti-missile system did not trigger,'' explained Saraswat.
This may well be true but DRDO has a long way to go before it can boast of successfully deploying an effective missile shield, with overlapping networks of advanced early-warning and tracking radars, fail-safe command and control posts, and robust land and sea-based interceptor missile batteries.
DRDO is yet to test Phase-I in an integrated mode, with both the two-stage exo and single-stage endo interceptors together, to first engage outside the atmosphere and then intercept the `leakers' inside to ensure the required near 100% kill probability.
Capable of handling multiple targets, the BMD system will have to be repeatedly tested for a variety of flight envelopes before it go in for production and subsequent deployment.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

GSLV relaunch with indigenous cryogenic engine in one year: ISRO

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to relaunch the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) with a home-grown cryogenic engine in a year's time after the failure in April this year.
"We have come across a few scenarios after detailed analysis of the failure. Now the immediate task is to test it on the ground and we look forward to relaunch it next year," ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan told reporters on the sidelines of the 117 birth anniversary celebrations of Professor PC Mahalanobis at the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata.
The five earlier versions of the GSLV had Russia- supplied cryogenic engines. India's cryogenic upper stage (CUS) engine was meant to replace the Russian engines.
The GSLV D-3, the satellite launch vehicle showcasing the country's indigenous cryogenic technology, trailed off its designated course and went out of control shortly after the lift-off on April 15.
The rocket, along with its two payloads -- satellites GSAT-4 and GAGAN -- crashed into the Bay of Bengal minutes after blastoff.
The failed mission caused loss of the GSLV-D3 rocket costing about Rs 180 crore and the satellites valued at Rs 150 crore.
The launch was the key to India's space programme as it would have made it the sixth nation to successfully deploy cryogenic technology, joining US, Russia, Japan, China and France.

After two setbacks, Isro set to launch five satellites on 12 July

After two setbacks this year, India’s space agency is set to launch five satellites on 12 July, including one that can shoot pictures of small objects on land and compress the time needed for building high-resolution maps by half.

Isro had deferred the launch of its workhorse polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) scheduled in May after it found leaks in the rocket’s second stage. The leaks were detected when pressurized nitrogen was pumped in the rocket as part of tests on the launch pad.

The same rocket will be fired now, following repairs and further tests, said an Isro official from Sriharikota. He did not want to be named.

“Even if the leak is minor, it takes many days to rectify and certify it fit,” said U.R. Rao, a former chairman of Isro. “In space, you don’t take risks.”

The rocket will also launch Alsat-2A, a remote sensing satellite from Algeria and India’s first African customer, two nano satellites from the University of Toronto, and Studsat, a small satellite built by engineering students in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Isro’s commercial arm, Antrix Corp. Ltd, has already signed a second satellite launch from Algeria for next year.

So far, PSLV has launched 39 satellites, nearly half of them from India, in 16 missions.

Isro expects Cartosat-2B to join two other satellites that are already in orbit—the Cartosat-2 and 2A—and return more high-resolution images to earth and provide complete coverage of the subcontinent, said S. Satish, director, Isro.

Cartosat-2B has a high resolution of 0.8 metre, allowing it to photograph objects the size of a typical bicycle.

Typically, satellites that can snap high resolution images can cover a small width or swath of 10km. To cover a larger area, a satellite would have to come back to a specific spot repeatedly, which would take a long time as it would have to complete one orbit of the earth to do this. A constellation of three satellites, on the other hand, can cover the entire country.

“It is like a camera; you want sharp images you need to be closer. You can go farther to cover a larger area, but you won’t get minute details,” said Rao.

As for the GSLV, Satish said a panel that’s studying what led to its crash is set to announce its report next week.