Floating test-range for missile defence system
- India is building a unique floating testing range — a huge ship — to overcome the limitations imposed by the land mass for carrying out missile tests of varying ranges for the two-tier ballistic missile defence (BMD) system to protect important cities.
- The system seeks to engage and destroy incoming enemy missiles at different altitudes in the endo- and exo-atmospheres.
- The first phase of the programme envisages development of interceptors to annihilate incoming missiles with a range of 2,000 km, while the second phase aims to build such weapons to destroy missiles with a longer range.
- The system will waylay a ballistic missile and destroy it in mid-air.
- India has so far conducted 10 interceptor missile tests, eight of them successful. Most of the trials were conducted in the endo-atmosphere, and a few in the exo-atmosphere. The first phase of the system is expected to be deployed after some more interceptor trials in deployable configuration.
- Currently the missile testing range on Wheeler Island posed certain limitations as people needed to be evacuated from the villages every time a trial took place. More important, the range of the missile had to be confined to less than 300 km. Also, different trajectories could not be tested.
- To overcome these problems, scientists at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) designed the floating testing range — a huge ship with a designated displacement equivalent to 10,000 tonnes.
- The state-of-the-art range would have many facilities such as a launch-pad, a launch control centre and a mission control centre.
- The construction of the range, which has just started, might take at least three to four years for the ship to be ready to conduct the first trial
- It will pave the way for conducting trials for different trajectories, varying altitudes and also for higher ranges. We can go up to 1,000-1,500 km without any problem. Currently, we have to conduct simulation tests for longer ranges. Once, this FTR is ready we will be able to carry out live tests
New range to test DRDO’s EW devices
- The Defence Research & Development Organisation is setting up a large field, or outdoor test range, for indigenous electronic warfare (EW) devices that later get fitted on war planes, ships and army tanks.
- An EW test range is among the [national defence] priorities for the coming years.
- EW devices broadly include radars, transmitters, antennas, sensors and communication devices — the defence forces’ ‘ears and eyes’ for detecting enemy presence or to deter its intelligence gathering.
- DLRL, it is learnt, has more or less identified Orvakal in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh for this facility. DRDO has already chosen the place for its 2”,700-acre National Open Air Range for testing missiles.
- EW devices are now tested indoors in labs and are qualified for use in a year or two. An outdoor range will vastly cut this time
- DLRL and the Defence Avionics Research Establishment in Bengaluru are in an advanced stage of developing indigenous seekers and AESA radars. Some of the EW areas may not require imports in the near future
- The EW devices market was globally estimated at $30 billion, and nationally at Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 40,000 crore.
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