Monday, December 24, 2012

India to launch satellite linked navigation collaboration with Russia soon

India may soon roll out satellite -assisted navigation services in collaboration with Russia's NIS-GLONASS.

The two countries, after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Vladimir Putin, today signed a memorandum of understanding for conducting the proof of concept through pilot project for providing the satellite-based navigation services.

The MoU envisages a pilot project to assess the usage of the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS)using the capabilities of BSNL/MTNL ground infrastructure.

The three-way partnership document was signed by R K Upadhyay, Chairman & Managing Director, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd., A K Garg, Chairman & Managing Director, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam LtdBSE -1.99 % and Alexander Chub, Director-General, OAO Navigation and Information Systems.

"Success of the pilot project may provide insights for wider applicability of GLONASS signals in the future in areas such as disaster management, telephony and long-distance communications," officials said.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

'Enemy' ballistic missile to be downed in space next month

Next month, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will attempt to shoot down an incoming “enemy” ballistic missile in outer space, well before it enters the earth’s atmosphere.
DRDO chief V K Saraswat has told Business Standard a newly developed Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) interceptor missile is to be launched from Wheeler Island (off Odisha’s coast, 150 km from Bhubaneswar), travelling 110-150 km into space, where it will destroy an incoming missile, fired earlier from a naval warship in the Bay of Bengal.
This comes on the heels of the DRDO’s successful November 23 test of its Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile, which destroyed an incoming target missile at an altitude of 15 km. Together, the AAD and the PDV missiles, with their radars and control centres, will form a two-layered anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defence system to protect strategic targets such as Delhi by 2013-14. While the AAD missile performs endo-atmospheric (inside-the-atmosphere) interceptions of enemy ballistic missiles, the PDV will conduct exo-atmospheric (outside-the-atmosphere) interceptions.
Next month’s test will feature a brand-new target: A two-stage version of the Dhanush missile, launched from a naval vessel 300-350 km from the interceptor location at Wheeler’s, and soaring to about 150 km. This target missile would mimic the trajectory and speed of an enemy ballistic missile fired from 1,500 km away, such as Pakistan’s Gauri and Shaheen projectiles. So far, target missiles, fired from Chandipur, just 70 km away, could only mimic enemy missiles fired from a range of 600 km or less.
“Firing range limitations make developing targets as much a challenge for us as developing interceptors. We have developed a boosted, two-stage version of the ship-launched Dhanush missile, which makes it into quite another system, taking it to a greater altitude that will mimic the actual terminal conditions of a 1,500-km class enemy missile,” explains the DRDO chief.
The brand-new PDV will intercept the incoming target at a 110-150 km altitude, far higher than the 50 km-high interceptions the exo-atmospheric Prithvi Air Defence interceptor has been doing so far. The PDV will carry a new Indian electro-optic seeker, to work in tandem with the radio frequency seeker the PAD has traditionally carried. An electro-optic seeker provides greater accuracy and reliability than a radio frequency seeker in homing the interceptor on to the target.
The PDV will be a solid-fuel missile, to be powered by a sophisticated new “pulse motor”. This will provide surges of propulsion during the missile’s later stage, increasing its manoeuvrability when very close to the target.
Intercepting the target at longer ranges provides several advantages. First, the target is travelling slower — some two km per second at 150 km, compared with 2½ km per second at 50-km altitude. Second, the target missile can be engaged before it enters Indian airspace, so that the debris falls into enemy territory. Finally, a longer flight time gives the interceptor more time for navigation, and the seeker can see better.
The PAD has been test-fired only twice, compared with the four test-firings of the AAD. DRDO insiders say with the PDV under development, there was no incentive to waste effort on the PAD. Now, the PDV could well undergo a phase of intensive testing.
Alongside the actual PDV launch at an actual target missile, the test next month will also feature up to six simulated targets, forcing the radars and command systems to respond. “We can launch six interceptors simultaneously, some endo-atmospheric and some exo-atmospheric, to handle such an attack,” says Saraswat.
Meanwhile, DRDO is working on Phase-II of the anti-ballistic missile defence programme, capable of downing enemy inter-continental ballistic missiles fired from up to 5,000 km away. DRDO says the Phase-II shield would be deployed by 2016.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hindustan Aeronautics carries out maiden flight of upgraded Jaguar 'Darin III'

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) on Thursday announced it had successfully carried out the maiden flight of the avionics upgraded Jaguar aircraft ‘Darin III’.

“This is a significant moment for us as the upgrade will result in major operational improvement with regard to all-weather air-to-ground, air-to-sea and air-to-air capabilities through the incorporation of the multi-mode radar,” said R K Tyagi, Chairman, HAL. Darin III upgrade, with re-engining and its change over to higher capacity alternators can make Jaguar one of the most potent aircraft in the arsenal of the IAF with an extended life-span.

The total design from system requirement capture, specification preparation, software, hardware, electrical, mechanical design and development has been done indigenously by the HAL at its Mission & Combat System Research & Design Centre (MCSRDC) and aircraft trial modification is done by HAL’s overhaul division. The fleet compliance will also be carried out by HAL. SDI of IAF is the design partner for display software development and Aircraft System Testing Establishment (ASTE) under the leadership of Air Vice Marshal Raghunath Nambiar takes care of system specification preparation, data analysis and flight testing along with Flight Test Centre of HAL.

The upgrade incorporates new avionics architecture including mission computer (MC), engine and flight instrument system (EFIS), solid state digital video recording system (SSDVRS), solid state flight data recorder (SSFDR) and additional functions in inertial global positioning system (INGPS), autopilot, radar and RWR. The upgrade covers modern navigation, EW and weapon delivery system with INGPS using primary and reversionary modes, state-of-the-art, man-machine interface (near glass cockpit) with two smart multi-function display and head-up display.

India is in the process of upgrading its 100-odd Jaguar planes in the IAF fleet under a 2008 contract signed with HAL for upgrading the aircraft from the initial version of the system called Darin-1. It signed a deal with the US for re-engining of Jaguar fleet whereby Jaguars will get Honeywell’s F125IN 43.8 kilo Newton (KN) thrust turbofan engine.

The cost of upgrade of Jaguar, inducted first in 1979, was initially estimated to cost Rs 3,113.02 crore (about $700 million) and all the aircraft are expected to be upgraded by December 2017.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Advanced Air Defence Interceptor Test

Multiple missiles intercepted in DRDO test off Orissa coast

India on Friday demonstrated its capability to intercept multiple missile attacks that will help it build a missile defence shield for the National Capital Region by 2014. The feat was achieved after scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation intercepted a real ballistic missile as well as a computer-simulated missile off the coast of Orissa.
During Friday’s test, a real interceptor almost simultaneously destroyed an incoming target missile in endo-atmosphere (inside Earth’s atmosphere), 14.5 km over the Bay of Bengal, and a computer-simulated missile in exo-atmosphere (outside Earth’s atmosphere), over an altitude of 120 km. The test was overseen by DRDO Chief V K Saraswat, who has been piloting the project to develop an indigenous missile shield.
After the test firing, the DRDO said that it was in the position to set up a missile shield for the National Capital Region as early as 2014, but maintained that a few more tests need to be conducted.
DRDO spokesman Ravi Gupta said that around 12.40 pm on Friday a ballistic missile — a modified surface-to-surface Prithvi missile — was fired from Integrated Test Range at Chandipur-on-sea in Balasore. In less than five minutes of the launch, the interceptor, Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile, was fired from Wheeler Island off Dhamra coast. It destroyed the Prithvi missile after travelling at a supersonic speed of 4.5 Mach. The Prithvi missile had a range of 600 km to 1,000 km.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Navy successfully test-fires Brahmos missile off Goa

Enhancing lethality of its fire power, the Navy today successfully test-fired a highly- manoeuvrable version of the 290-km range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from a warship off the Goa coast.

“The cruise missile was test-fired from guided missile frigate INS Teg—the Indian Navy’s latest induction from Russia off the coast of Goa early this morning,” sources told PTI.

The missile, which was fired without a warhead, hit the target ship after performing intricate manoeuvres, they said.

It had a deep penetration on the target, which caught fire, they said.

The weapon did not take a straight attack path and kept turning around before hitting the target and this capability will make it difficult for the enemy to locate the Indian warships during operations, the sources said.

INS Teg, which has been built at the Yantar shipyard in Russia, had fired the missile successfully during its pre-induction trials in Russia last year.

The two remaining warships of the project namely INS Tarkash and INS Trikand will also be armed with the cruise missile in vertical launch mode.

The successful test of the missile from the new Talwar Class frigate under project ‘Project 1135.6’ has strengthened BrahMos’ case for deployment on the similar warships being built for Russian Navy.

The two—stage missile, the first one being solid and the second one ramjet liquid propellant, has already been inducted into the Army and Navy, and the Air Force version is in final stage of trial, a defence official said.

While induction of the first version of Brahmos missile system in the Indian Navy commenced from 2005 with INS Rajput, it is now fully operational with two regiments of the Army.

Friday, October 5, 2012

350 Km Range Surface-to-Surface Ballistic Missile “Dhanush” Successfully Launched



Dhanush, the India’s 350 km range Surface-to-Surface ballistic missile was successfully launched at 11:25 A.M on 5th october 2012 from a naval ship off the coast of Balasore, Odisha. The missile was launched by India’s strategic forces command. It was a text book launch meeting all the mission objectives. Dhanush, developed by DRDO, is India’s short range (350 km range) strategic ballistic missile capable of being launched from naval ships.

Similar in features to Prithvi, the 9-metre tall single-staged liquid fuelled missile is capable of carrying warhead of 500 kg to a distance of 350 kg can be launched from naval ships. Equipped with a high accuracy inertial navigation system with sophisticated on-board control and guidance, Dhanush has ability to hit sea and shore based enemy targets with great precision.

"It was a text book launch meeting all the mission objectives," Ravi Kumar Gupta, director, Defence Research Development Organisation, said after the successful launch of the missile by the India's Strategic Force Command (SFC).

Saturday, September 29, 2012

ISRO launches its heaviest satellite

Taking another step towards meeting the shortfall of transponders for satellite TV and other communication needs, the Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) launched GSAT-10 from French Guiana on Saturday.

The 3,400-kg GSAT-10, India’s heaviest satellite till date, was launched on an Ariane-5 rocket and carried 30 communication transponders. ISRO’s master control centre at Hassan in Karnataka will manoeuvre it in its final geo-stationary orbit, alongside Insat-4A and the GSAT-12, over the next few days. GSAT-10 is the ninth Indian communication satellite in space.

“After a smooth countdown lasting 11 hours and 30 minutes, the Ariane-5 launch vehicle lifted off right on schedule. After a flight of 30 minutes and 45 seconds, GSAT-10 was injected into an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit, very close to the intended one,” ISRO said after the launch. “Preliminary checks on various subsystems of the satellite were performed and all parameters were found satisfactory. Following this, the satellite was oriented towards the earth and the sun using the on-board propulsion system. The satellite is in good health.”

In the coming five days, ISRO will perform orbit raising manoeuvres to place the satellite in the Geostationary Orbit with required inclination with reference to the equator. The satellite will be moved to the geostationary orbit (36,000 km above the equator) by using the satellite propulsion system in a three step approach.

ISRO plans to test the transponders on GSAT-10, which has an operational life of 15 years, in the second week of October.

GSAT-10 has 12 transponders in Ku-band, 12 in C-band and 6 in extended C-Band. It is expected to fill a huge gap in transponder availability.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

ISRO to launch 58 missions in 5 years

The Indian Space Research Organisation is gearing up to launch 58 missions in the next five years, informed ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan. In a press conference held here on Monday to discuss ISRO’s future plans, Radhakrishnan said two of the future missions would be commercial. “India’s first 50 space missions were achieved in 27 years and the next 50 in 10 years -- between 2002 and 2012. Our aim now is to undertake 58 missions in five years,” he said.

Radhakrishnan said the budget for the current year was Rs 6,700 crore, 36 per cent of which would be allocated for launch vehicles, 55 per cent for communication, remote sensing and navigation satellites and 9 per cent for science missions like Astrosat, Mars Orbiter and Aditya. He said the missions would include PSLV C20 with Saral satellite, which would be assembled in 20 days at Sri Harikota with the tentative launch date fixed for December 12. GSAT 7 and INSAT 3D, which were communications and meteorology satellites, were almost complete, he added. He said that the launch of Indian IRNSS satellite was planned in early July, 2013, on the PSLV C22.

Referring to the developmental delays in the GSLV D5 indigenous cryogenic engine, Radhakrishnan said ISRO was learning from previous errors and strengthening the fuel booster turbo pump. “There are two more tests with the cryo stage, which will be completed by November. We will have a flight test in January-February, 2013,” he added

The next five years would also see huge capacity addition in terms of transponders to meet the demand of 156 transponders, mostly from DTH companies. “ISRO will also create a National Database for Emergency Management and focus on other remote sensing databases in order to assist the government in planning,” Radhakrishnan added.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

India plans to build fastest supercomputer by 2017-end


The telecom ministry has drawn up an ambitious blueprint to build a supercomputer by 2017, which will be at least 61 times faster than any machine available on Monday.
Telecom and information technology minister Kapil Sibal has written to PM Manmohan Singh about the project, which is estimated to cost Rs. 4,700 crore over the next five years.

But in order to succeed, the scientists behind the project will need to defy predictions of experts across the world that the computing speeds Sibal has promised are impossible any time in the near future.

"In his (Sibal's) letter, he has said that C-DAC has developed a proposal with a roadmap to develop a petaflop and exaflop range of supercomputers in the country with an outlay of Rs. 4,700 crore," a government official said, referring to the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) which built India's first supercomputer, the PARAM 8000 in 1991. A petaflop is a measure of computing speed and an exaflop is 1,000 petaflops.

At present, the world's fastest supercomputer, IBM's Sequoia, has a top computing speed of 16.32 petaflops. India's fastest supercomputer, the Cluster Platform 3000, ranks 58 among the world's fastest machines, and has a top speed of 0.3 petaflops, so the proposed machine — if successful — would be 3000 times faster.

A review commissioned by the US department of defense concluded that exaflop computing speeds were theoretically impossible anytime in the current decade.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Intercontinental ballistic missiles well within reach

Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) is the deceptively bland name that obscures from public view the Defence Research & Development  Organisation’s (DRDO’s) most glamorous laboratory. At the DRDO missile complex here in Hyderabad, ASL develops the ballistic missiles that, in the ultimate nuclear nightmare, will carry Indian nuclear weapons to targets — thousands of kilometres away. Foreign collaboration is seeping into many areas of R&D, but ASL’s technological domain — the realm of strategic ballistic missiles — is something that no country parts with, for love or for money. No foreigner would ever set foot in ASL.

But Business Standard has been allowed an exclusive visit. The erudite, soft-spoken director of ASL, Dr V G Sekharan, describes the technologies that were developed for the DRDO’s new, 5,000-kilometre range Agni-5 missile, which was tested flawlessly in April. He reveals nothing except restraint stood between India and an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could strike a target anywhere on the globe.

ICBMs have ranges above 5,500 kilometres, a threshold that the Agni-5 already sits on. For India, a more strategically relevant range would be about 7,500 kilometres, which would cover the world except for the Americas.

“Going up from 5,000 kilometres to, let us say, 7,500 kilometres requires only incremental changes, which we have already assessed. We would need a more powerful booster, which we could make ourselves at ASL; and we would need to strengthen some of the systems, such as heat shielding, that are already flying on the Agni-V,” says Sekharan.
For now, however, ASL is not developing an ICBM. Instead, its focus is on “operationalising” the Agni-V, which involves putting it into a canister and conducting three to four test-launches from the canister. When the Agni-V enters service with the Strategic Forces Command (SFC), which operates India’s nuclear deterrent, it will be delivered in hermetically sealed canisters that safeguard the road-mobile missiles for over a decade, while they are transported and handled.

Launching a ballistic missile from a canister is a technological feat that ASL has perfected with smaller missiles, and will now modify for the bigger Agni-V. Since the missile’s giant rocket motors cannot be fired while it is inside the canister, a gas-generation unit at the bottom of the canister, below the missile, generates a massive boost of gas that ejects the missile from the canister.

“The gas pushes the Agni-V out, like a bullet from the barrel of a gun. In less than half a second, the 50-tonne missile clears the canister by 15 metres, and that is when the rocket motor can safely ignite. In 30 seconds, the Agni-V breaks the sound barrier and, in 90 seconds, it has left the atmosphere,” explains Sekharan.

The DRDO has promised the armed forces that the Agni-V will be test-fired from a canister in early 2013. ASL is on track to achieve that target, says Sekharan. Within a couple of months, a “pop-up test” will be conducted with a canister, in which the gas generator ejects a dummy missile. Meanwhile, the actual missile is being integrated with the canister.
The Agni-V project funding has already been cleared by the political council of the Union cabinet, a fast-track procedure for strategic projects that eliminates cumbersome MoD sanctions. This allows ASL to place orders for the materials and sub-systems that will go into the first few Agni-V missiles, taking care of production lead times. ASL scientists recount that “maraging steel” for the canister takes two years to be delivered by specialist defence PSU, Midhani. The rocket motor casings take another one year.

On the question that exercises strategic analysts the world over  —  is ASL developing “multi independently-targetable re-entry vehicles”, or MIRVs — Sekharan remains ambiguous: “I can say we are working on MIRV technologies. The key challenge — the “post-boost vehicle”, which carries the multiple warheads — is not a technology challenge, merely an engineering one. DRDO will acquire and demonstrate the capability for MIRVs by 2014-15. But the decision to deploy MIRVs would be a political one.”

MIRVs are multiple warheads, up to ten, which would be fitted atop a single Agni-V. These would be a mix of nuclear bombs and dummy warheads to confuse enemy air defences. Each warhead can be programmed to hit a different target; or multiple warheads can be directed at a single target, but with different trajectories.
Interestingly, Sekharan reveals that the DRDO does not need sanction to begin work on such technologies. “The decision-making works like this: we demonstrate the technology and the capability. Then the government decides, keeping in mind the big picture.”

“In the Agni-V, the government didn’t say, ‘we have a threat perception… I need a long-range missile.’ It was the DRDO that said that we now have the capability to enhance the Agni-III to 5,000 kilometres, and so the government 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Prithvi II tested successfully

The 350-km range surface-to-surface Prithvi II missile was successfully flight tested at the Integrated Test Range, Chandipur, Balasore district in Odisha on Saturday giving the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) the Prithvi power.

"It was a text-book launch with very high accuracy. With this test launch, we can say that the SFC has demonstrated its expertise in firing the missile," DRDO director general and scientific advisor to defence minister, V K Saraswat, told STOIon phone from Balasore.

Saraswat said the missile had an accuracy of better than 10 meters and this showed the standard of the missile. The single stage liquid propelled vehicle developed by DRDO was inducted into the armed forces and one of the missiles drawn from the inventory of the armed forces was test-fired by the SFC on Saturday. The vehicle is guided all through by an accurate Inertial Navigation System (INS) and controlled by the Thrust Vector Control and Aero-Dynamic Control Systems.

The missile developed by DRDO was flight tested from Launch Complex III by the SFC as part of its training exercise. The indigenous missile hit the target in the Bay of Bengal which was witnessed by a naval ship located near the target.

According to DRDO officials, all the radars, electro optical systems located along the coast tracked and monitored all the parameters of the missile throughout the flight path. The entire launch operation was carried out by the armed forces and monitored by scientists of DRDO.

Prithvi II has been successfully flight tested a number of times as part of development, induction and training exercises. Saturday's launch, however, tested the Areliability of Prithvi and confirmed the successful induction into the services, a DRDO official said.

The team of armed forces and scientists were led by project director Siva Subramanyam and programme director Adalat Ali, director, DRDL, Hyderabad.

Tejas aircraft to be put to test during "Iron Feast" at Pokhran in February 2013

The much-awaited indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft Tejas will now be put to test in the forthcoming air exercise "Iron Feast", to be held in February next year in Pokhran of Jaisalmer. The much-awaited indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft Tejas will now be put to test in the forthcoming air exercise "Iron Feast", to be held in February next year in Pokhran of Jaisalmer.

The Tejas will display its capabilities in the exercise, where its lethality, endurance and precision will be tested, Air Marshal Anjan Kumar Gogoi, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, South-Western Air command, said at a press conference here.

If the supersonic fighter is found performing successfully on every parameter in this exercise, its first squadron will be deployed in Bangalore, he said.

This will be the first demonstration of strength by Tejas after it recently completed weapon trials in preparation for its operational clearance and now planned to be finally cleared for operational service after this exercise.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

India's first nuclear submarine set for trials

India’s first home-built nuclear submarine is set for sea trials.

The indigenous 6,000-ton INS Arihant (Destroyer of Enemies) was unveiled in 2009 as part of a project to construct five such vessels which would be armed with nuclear-tipped missiles and torpedoes.

"Arihant is steadily progressing towards operationalisation, and we hope to commence sea trials in the coming months," Indian navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma told reporters.

"Our maritime and nuclear doctrine will then be aligned to ensure that our nuclear insurance comes from the sea," Verma said,

Arihant is powered by an 85-megawatt nuclear reactor and can reach 44 kilometres an hour (24 knots), according to defence officials. It will carry a 95-member crew.

The Indian navy inducted a Russian-leased nuclear submarine into service in April this year, joining China, France, the United States, Britain and Russia in the elite club of countries with nuclear-powered vessels.

Verma said 43 warships were currently under construction at local shipyards while the first of six Franco-Spanish Scorpene submarines under contract would join the Indian navy in 2015 and the sixth by 2018.

The admiral said the navy was also poised to induct eight Boeing long-range maritime reconnaissance P-8I aircraft next year.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

BrahMos successfully test at user trial

India today successfully test fired BrahMos supersonic cruise missile as part of a user trial by the Army from a test range at Chandipur off Odisha coast. The missile, which has a flight range of up to 290 km, is capable of carrying a conventional warhead of 300 kg.

"The cruise missile was test fired from a ground mobile launcher from the launch complex-3 at about 1030 hours and all data is being retrieved for analysis," defence sources said.

The cruise missile, a surface-to-surface Army version, was test fired as part of user trial by the Army, they said. The two-stage missile, the first one being solid and the second one ramjet liquid propellant, has already been inducted into the Army and Navy, and the Air-Force version is in final stage of trial, a defence official said.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

INS Sahyadri Inducted

The indigenous stealth frigate INS Sahyadri was inducted to the Navy yesterday. INS Sahyadri is the 3rd of the seven new warships that the Navy is going to acquire. These new ship will be stealthier and will carry supersonic cruise missile BrahMos. It will also have a complement of weapons and the latest phased array radars to provide a clearer picture of approaching threats. Along with the capability to launch offensive on enemy vessels, the warship is equipped with advance electronic warfare capabilities and torpedoes to detect and neutralise enemy submarines

The Defence Minister accompanied by the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma was present to commission the 6,200 tonne warship INS Sahyadri, which is the third and last of the Shivalik-class stealth frigates under Project 17 built indigenously at the Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL).

The first two ships in the class are INS Shivalik and INS Satpura that are now on active duty. The three have cost some Rs 10,200 crore and have been commissioned in the past two years.

The INS Sahyadri that got commissioned is an indicator of the generational shift in India’s warship-building capability. The 143m long ship can tactically fire weapons even before the enemy detects it.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mars mission in November next year

India is all set to give the go-ahead for an ambitious mission to Mars, expected in November next year, a top Space Department official said here on Saturday.
“A lot of studies have been done on the possible mission to Mars”, Secretary in the Department of Space and Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation K Radhakrishnan told reporters here.
“We have come to the last phase of approvals”, he said. .
“And I am sure that, maybe soon, we will be hearing an announcement on the Mars mission“.
According to ISRO officials, a significant amount of work on the planned Mars mission has been completed and scientific payloads have been short-listed.
The project report for Indian Mars Orbiter mission has been submitted for government approval.
The mission envisages launching an Orbiter around Mars using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-XL). The Orbiter will be placed in an orbit of 500 x 80,000 km around MARS and will have a provision to carry nearly 25 kg of scientific payloads on-board.
The tentative scientific objective for the Mars mission will be to focus on life, climate, geology, origin, evolution and sustainability of life on the planet,” according to ISRO.
Scientific payloads have been short-listed by ISRO’s Advisory Committee for Space Sciences (ADCOS) review committee.
Baseline, solar array and reflector configuration of the satellite have been finalised, the Bangalore-headquartered space agency said.

India developing futuristic artillery gun

That the Indian Army's artillery regiments are in desperate need of a makeover is well known. But the process of modernisation and upgrade has moved at a glacial pace. The only new weapon in sight is the M777 light howitzer which has been cleared for procurement from BAE Systems in the US. The DRDO has now stepped in, reviving an old artillery project that had been shut down some years ago owing to the Army's lack of interest in an indigenous project.
Working this time with the Army's full backing, the DRDO has begun work on a new 155mm 45-calibre gun that could take a decade to develop and field. Dr S Sundaresh, head of the team for the new artillery project, said in an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN that the gun would comprise certain high-end technologies that could require a foreign collaborator.
DRDO, Army working on futuristic artillery gun
We are proposing to develop a futuristic gun in consultation with the Army. We are in dialogue with the Army for some of the new technologies we are proposing to introduce into this gun, for example a special coating for the barrel to enhance its life, the smart recoil system with rheological fluid or an electrical drive to elevate and traverse the gun. We are in dialogue with the Army to finalise the Preliminary Staff Qualitative Requirements (PSQR) hopefully in the next couple of months. We have already started design work and will modify the design to suit the PSQR.
Since these are new technologies, we expect in about four to five years time we should be ready with a prototype for user trials, followed by summer and winter trials. Production could commence in about nine to 10 years' time. So the development cycle is 5-7 years including evaluation by the Army.
We want to try new technology in the area of recoil. The standard recoil systems are hydro-pneumatic but we are looking at an electro rheological liquid which has adaptive viscosity characteristics. So it will have adaptive damping, you will get a smooth consistent recoil no matter what the weight of the shell and what range you are firing at. That makes for a more reliable recoil system. The PSQRs demand new technology such as barrel coating. So the plan is to first build the barrel using current technologies and then try coating. Once that barrel development technology has matured, we can add new technologies and improve its performance. A number of foreign firms are willing to offer the coating technology. We are in dialogue but nothing has been firmed up yet. In order to cut down on time, we may get the technology from abroad, especially about the barrel coating and the recoilless system.
Basically, both tanks and non-rocket artillery have rifled guns but when you look at the length of the barrel, the artillery gun barrels are much longer than tank barrels. The artillery shell is heavier, so the force of recoil is heavier. Accordingly, you require a proper recoil mechanism and a muzzle brake system.
Nobody else in the world is developing a new gun. BAE Systems Bofors, Denel and Singapore Technologies have developed technologies for the guns they built. Nexter of France has also done the same but no serious development is taking place in terms of new guns. All guns are being produced with existing technology, so we will be the only country taking up this development. We have a large requirement and even if we take up development today, we can meet our requirements 10 years from now for a state-of-the-art gun system.
The Ordnance Factory Board is working on a gun based on the ToT documents received from Bofors. So they will be building a 155mm 39-calibre gun as well as a 155mm 45-calibre one. DRDO is helping them with the 45-calibre barrel design and external ballistics.
Self propelled guns are now at the RFP stage and we have teamed up with BEML for the Army tender. BEML is taking the turret from the Czech firm Zusana and the same will be integrated on the Arjun tank chassis. Hopefully trials will commence within a year.

Agni-I a success

The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Indian Army launched the Agni-I missile from the Wheeler Island, off the Odisha coast, on Friday.
The flight was a success with the missile travelling its full range of 700 km. The practice launch took place at 10.06 a.m. with Agni-I lifting off from a road mobile launcher (a modified TATRA truck) stationed at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) on the Wheeler Island and the missile sped towards its targeted area in the Bay of Bengal. It followed its path perfectly guided by onboard computers. The missile’s re-entry systems worked well and it plunged into the targeted area with accuracy.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) designed and developed Agni-I. The Army has already deployed this short-range missile which can carry nuclear warheads.
An elated V.K. Saraswat, Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, told The Hindu from the Wheeler Island, that all the Agni missiles — Agni-I, II, III, IV and V, developed by the DRDO, “are flying high.” The DRDO launched Agni-V with a range of more than 5,000 km in April this year and the DRDO was back to launching Agni-I now, he said.
“All Agni missiles are performing well. Their production systems are working on schedule and the user [the Army] is conversant with the exercise of the launch. They have done a superb job today. The Strategic Forces Command has mastered the technology of launching the missile to a high degree of perfection,” said Dr. Saraswat, who is the DRDO Director-General and a missile technologist himself.
“As the designer and developer of Agni missiles, the DRDO is elated,” Dr. Saraswat said. As many Agni missiles as are required would be produced and delivered to the user, he added.
Avinash Chander, Chief Controller (Missiles and Strategic Systems), DRDO, who was the Mission Director, described it as a textbook launch, with the mission meeting all its objectives. Radars installed along the coast kept a tab on Agni-I. Cameras on board two ships stationed near the targeted area recorded the terminal event of the missile’s flight. The missile was drawn from the production lot.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

India's spy satellite RISAT-1 to be launched in April

A wholly Indian-built spy/surveillance satellite, Radar Imaging Satellite (Risat-1) that can see through clouds and fog and has very high-resolution imaging is slated for launch in April, a senior official of the Indian space agency has said.

An official of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said thorough tests were being done on the Risat-1.

"The Risat-1 is put to thermal vacuum test (a test to check the satellite's functioning in space environment). It is a complex microwave satellite being built for the first time in India. The satellite is expected to be launched in April," the senior official told, not wishing to be named because of the organisational rules.

In earlier satellites, one major component, the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) was imported, but in Risat-1 that has also been developed in India.

He said Risat-1 is the first such satellite being built by India and is a bit complex compared to other remote sensing/earth observation satellites built and sent up earlier.

According to ISRO officials, Risat-1 at 1,850 kg is the heaviest microwave satellite to be built by India.

The satellite would be used for disaster prediction and agriculture forestry, and the high resolution pictures and microwave imaging could also be used for defence purposes.

Risat-1 will have all weather, day and night imaging capability.

The satellite's synthetic aperture radar can acquire data at C-band.

ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan had said last October that the space agency would launch two more satellites, Risat-1 and SARAL, before 2011-end. But that did not happen. He also said two more satellites, AstroSat and Aditya, will be launched in 2012-13.

Remote sensing satellites send back pictures and other data for use. India has the largest constellation of remote sensing satellites in the world providing imagery in a variety of spatial resolutions, from more than a metre ranging up to 500 metres, and is a major player in vending such data in the global market.

In 2009, ISRO had launched 300 kg Risat-2 with an Israeli built SAR enabling earth observation on all weather, day and night conditions. The satellite can look through clouds and fog.

With 11 remote sensing/earth observation satellites orbiting in the space, India is a world leader in the remote sensing data market. The 11 satellites are TES, Resourcesat 1, Cartosat 1, 2, 2A and 2B, IMS 1, Risat-2, Oceansat 2, Resourcesat-2, Megha-Tropiques.

According to ISRO officials, the rocket that would sling Risat-1 will be the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle's (PSLV) upgraded variant called PSLV-XL.

The rocket would weigh around 320 tonnes at lift-off and will be the third such expendable rocket to be sent up by ISRO, and first time to launch a remote sensing satellite.

ISRO had used the PSLV-XL variant (rocket with extended strap-on motors than what the base model has) for its moon mission (Chandrayaan-1) in 2008 and for launching its communication satellite GSAT-12 in 2011.

The PSLV is a four-stage (engine) rocket powered by solid and liquid propellants alternatively. The first and third stages are fired by solid propellant and the second and fourth stages are fired by liquid propellant.

ISRO has developed three PSLV variants. The first is the standard variant weighing around 290 tonnes with six strap-on motors measuring 11.3 metres with a fuel capacity of nine tonnes.

The other two rocket variants are the PSLV Core Alone without the six strap-on motors and PSLV-XL with longer strap-on motors measuring 13.5 metres having a fuel capacity of 12 tonnes of solid fuel.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Nirbhay to be test fired next month

India is likely to testfire its indigenously developed new sub-sonic cruise missile Nirbhay next month, sources said Wednesday.

"The Defense Research and Development Organization has made the missile which can travel at a sub-sonic speed that is less than the speed of sound. It will be testfired in April," the sources said.

Nirbhay, India's equivalent of America's long-range Tomahawk, is a two-stage, surface-to-surface missile which can carry multiple payloads and engage several targets. It has a range of nearly 1,000 km.

Nirbhay will be a terrain hugging, stealthy missile capable of delivering 24 different types of warheads depending on mission requirements and will use an inertial navigation system for guidance.

"It will supplement Indo-Russian made BrahMos supersonic cruise missile in the sense that it would enable delivery of warheads farther than the 300 km range of BrahMos," the sources added.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Interceptor test - a direct hit on target missile‎

DRDO today conducted a successful test launch of the interceptor missile. DRDO’s Air Defence Missile AAD-05 has successfully hit the ballistic missile and destroyed it at a height of 15 kms off the Coast of Orissa near the Wheelers Island. A modified Prithvi missile mimicking the ballistic missile was launched at 1010 hrs from ITR Chandipur. Radars located at different locations tracked the incoming ballistic missile. Interceptor missile was ready to take-off at Wheelers Island. Guidance computers continuously computed the trajectory of the ballistic missile and launched AAD-05 Interceptor Missile at a precisely calculated time. With the target trajectory continuously updated by the radar, the onboard guidance computer guided the AAD-05 Interceptor Missile towards the target missile. The onboard radio frequency seeker identified the target missile, guided the AAD-05 Interceptor Missile close to the target missile, hit the target missile directly and destroyed it. Warhead also exploded and destroyed the target missile into pieces.
Radar and Electro Optic Tracking Systems (EOTS) have tracked the missile and also recorded the fragments of target missile falling into the Bay of Bengal. It is one of the finest missions where the interceptor has hit the incoming ballistic missile directly and destroyed it at a 15 kms altitude. The mission was carried out in the final deliverable user configuration mode.
India is the fifth nation to have these ballistic missile defence capabilities in the world.