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.

The Hyderabad-based Defence Electronics Research Laboratory (DLRL) is due to work out its details within a year, according to G. Satheesh Reddy, top 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 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, a DRDO veteran said.

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.

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.

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, 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 to Rs. 40,000 crore.

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.