New range in AP to test DRDO’s electronic warfare / EW devices

February 24, 2016 06:20 pm | Updated 06:20 pm IST - BENGALURU

The Defence Research & Development Organisation is setting up a large field or outdoor test range for indigenous electronic warfare devices that later get fitted on war planes, ships and Army tanks.

The Hyderabad-based Defence Electronics Research Laboratory (DLRL) is tasked to work out its details within a year, according to G. Satheesh Reddy, defence scientist and Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister.

“An EW test range is among the [national defence] priorities for the coming years,” Dr. Reddy said on the sidelines of an annual EW conference here on Tuesday.

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 2700-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, a DRDO veteran said.

EW devices broadly include radars, transmitters, antennas, sensors and communication devices – the Forces’ “ears and eyes “for detecting enemy presence or deter its intelligence-gathering.

Dr. Reddy earlier said India had done reasonably well in EW; yet public and private manufacturers and research entities need to step up efforts in a fast changing global technology scene.

On the positive side, DLRL and the Defence Avionics Research Establishment in Bengaluru were in an advanced stage of developing indigenous seekers and AESA radars. Some of the EW areas may not require imports in the near future, he said.

A.K. Kalghatagi, Director (R&D) of co-host Bharat Electronics Ltd., said the EW devices market was globally estimated at $30 billion; and nationally at Rs. 30,000-40,000 crore.

Air Marshal P.P. Reddy, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, called for creating skilled personnel to support the sensitive systems.

Some 300 delegates are participating in the fourth EW conference organised by the India chapter of the Association of Old Crows and DRDO. AOC is a body of professionals engaged in military intelligence technologies.

Listing out a few EW essentials for gathering intelligence, Dr. Reddy said defence forces today need the latest transmitters, software defined or digital receivers, signal jammers, fast processing devices with optical and electromagnetic capability and accurately tracking antennas. The defence electronics labs need to develop W-band seeker applications, millimetre-wave based and tera-Hertz technologies to catch up with the world, he added.

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