Stunning range of products

Print edition : March 25, 2011

P.S. Krishnan, Director, ADE. - K. MURALI KUMAR

FROM 10 laboratories in 1958, the DRDO today has a network of 52 laboratories and is one of the biggest defence R&D organisations in the world. It develops a stunning range of products for the armed forces missiles; battle tanks; parachutes; ready-to-eat food items; armoured fighting vehicles; titanium sponges; carbon composites; tungsten alloys and compounds; jacket and trouser windcheaters; bio-diesel; bio-fertilisers; jatropha soap; anti-mine infantry boots; blast protection suits; sonar systems; electronic warfare systems; products to combat nuclear, biological and chemical warfare; propellants; explosives; rifles, bridge-laying tanks; and so on.

Bangalore has nine DRDO laboratories: the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, the Defence Avionics Research Establishment, the Defence Bioengineering and Electromedical Laboratory, the Gas Turbine Research Establishment, the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment, the Microwave Tube Research and Development Centre, the Centre for Airborne Systems, and the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification. The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Bangalore, is an autonomous body of the DRDO. The Defence Food Research Laboratory is based in Mysore.

The ADE has developed the pilotless target aircraft (PTA) Lakshya, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Nishant and Rustom 1, laser-guidance kits for bombs, simulator and flight control computers for Tejas, Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs), flight control actuators, gas turbines, rotary engines, and so on.

The ADE conducted flight tests for the UAVs. We will ultimately build Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles [UCAV], said P.S. Krishnan, ADE Director.

Nishant does not need a runway and can be launched from a rail-like contraption on a truck. It has a range of 160 km, can fly at an altitude of 3.6 km and carry out surveillance for four and a half hours. The Army has ordered 12 Nishants at Rs.240 crore. At the end of a mission, Nishant parachutes softly to the ground, from where it can be recovered.

Lakshya-2 in a laboratory at the ADE.-K. MURALI KUMAR

Lakshya is one of the ADE's premier products. A tow-body that trails from it is used as a target by radar-guided surface-to-air, air-to-air and shoulder-launched missiles and by land- and ship-based anti-aircraft weapons. After the tow-body is hit, Lakshya's parachute opens and the aircraft touches the water noseAA down. It can be recovered and reused. All the three Services have inAducted Lakshya. Its success led to the development of Lakshya-2, which has a digital control system.

Rustom-1, a medium altitude, long endurance (MALE) UAV, was test-flown recently. Its cameras can gather high-quality imagery for about 15 hours at a stretch, flying at an altitude of 25,000 feet. It can carry a payload of 350 kg at an altitude of 35,000 feet and has an endurance of 36 hours. It will have a synthetic aperture radar and a C-band data link.

The ADE's a laser-guided kit helps the IAF drop bombs with greater precision within 10 metres of their targets as against 500 m without the kit. G. Natarajan and G. Sivasankaran, both Associate Directors, ADE, are confident of achieving a precision of 3 m.

T.S. Subramanian

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