Warfare technology in lucid prose

V. Narayana Rao

BANGALORE: Think of war and you feel indebted to the soldiers battling the enemy, often against heavy odds.

Yet, the work of Defence scientists, who quietly build up the vital capabilities go unsung.

Unmasking the men and technologies behind the war machines, a retired founder-director of the Hyderabad-based Defence Electronics Research Laboratory (DERL) has ventured to tell a different story through his book: “Reminiscences of a Defence Scientist: A quest for self-reliance.”

For the author, V. Narayana Rao, electronic warfare was a field that required immense focus. He was given that freedom and he dwelled deep in researching a technology that called for the “deployment of highly sensitive receivers capable of operating over large bandwidths that could quickly detect any type of electro-magnetic radiation from radars, missiles and the enemy’s communication systems”.

It was also about nullifying the enemy’s operation through deliberate interference, such as jamming and deception, explained the author in an informal chat with The Hindu recently.

In his book, Mr. Narayana Rao has lucidly illustrated the electronic warfare technology, and how it changed the course of battles from the Second World War to the recent Kosovo conflict.

“During the Second World War, the British developed windows (aluminium foils) to mask its radar tracks and hoodwinked the enemy. Hamburg was destroyed in the bombing that ensued,” he recalled.

Prohibitive costs

India had to acquire the technology quickly. The prohibitive costs of acquiring electronic warfare equipment from the United States, and the supply constraints posed by governments abroad propelled the Defence Ministry to turn to DERL and Mr. Narayana Rao.

“It called for a great deal of development of sophisticated equipment that used antennas, broadband microwave components, high sensitive fast-turning receivers, digital instantaneous frequency measuring devices and a variety of other microwave and radio frequency components and devices,” he said.

Without help

Without any foreign help, DERL embarked on the electronic warfare technology project. Mr. Narayana Rao first set up a large microwave division and antenna divisions for microwave.

As the work went on, new technologies such as hybrid microwave integrated circuit techniques and the use of Anechoic chamber facility enabled the laboratory to make further progress.

Surveillance system

In due course, DERL developed a surveillance system and a pod-mounted jammer for the Indian Air Force, communication system receivers and jammers for the Army and a complete electronic warfare system for the Navy.

The laboratory, along with Bharat Electronics, also developed the Samyukta system for the Army, complete with 26 vehicles which covered the radio and microwave bands.

Mr. Narayana Rao said that most of the electronic warfare systems for the Defence services were developed by DERL before production by Bharat Electronics and other Defence firms.


“The extent of the production orders based on DERL technology is about Rs. 300 crore, and it is likely to go up as more systems get ready for production,” he said.

DERL, according to Mr. Narayana Rao, was also instrumental in developing an indigenous system of cryptography, a secondary surveillance radar to identify incoming aircraft as friend or foe and several types of high power travelling tubes.

DRDO develops submarine version of Brahmos missile


September 05, 2007 15:05 IST

India has developed a submarine-launched supersonic missile, a capability hitherto the monopoly of advanced nations like the US, France, Russia and some others.

The submarine-launched version of Brahmos supersonic cruise missile is ready, Defence Minister A K Antony informed Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

He, however, said trials of the missile were awaiting the necessary platform, which will be identified by the Navy soon.

According to experts, the submarines in the armoury of the Navy namely the German HDW series and the Russian Kilo class do not have the capability to launch such missiles.

India has requested Russia for loan of submarines to carry out test trials of the underwater launched version of the Brahmos.

Alternatively, the trials could be carried out in Russian waters, naval sources said.

On the air launched version of the Brahmos, the minister said this was currently in progress and attempts were being made to integrate the missile to be launched from both Air Force's SU-30 MKI fighters and Navy's IL-38 maritime reconnaissance planes.

DRDO’s researched and developed Dhruv helicopter flies with advanced Shakti 1,000-horsepower engine


3 Sep 2007

BANGALORE: The indigenously developed Dhruv advanced light helicopter (ALH) achieved a major milestone when it was flown for the first time with a new and more powerful engine that has been jointly developed by Indian and French engineers.

The 1,000-horsepower Shakti engine has been co-developed by Dhruv manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Turbomeca of France and will enable the helicopter to operate at high altitudes and in adverse desert conditions. The engine has an indigenous content of 20 percent and this is likely to gradually rise to 80 percent.

"Shakti's higher power will enable a whopping 150 percent increase in payload capability at high altitudes (of 5.5-6.5 km) and operation in harsh terrain," HAL chairman Ashok Baweja pointed out.

Some 70 Dhruvs are currently flying and are powered by 800-horsepower Turbomeca engines.

Two helicopters, one a utility version with a glass cockpit and another armed with air-to-air missiles, rockets and turret guns were flown Thursday in the defence area of the HAL airport here.

Among the audience were officials from the certification authorities - India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation and France's Cemelac.

The 30-minute demonstration, on a bright sunny day and under windy conditions, included a number of mid-air manoeuvres like forward and reverse flight, banking 360 degrees and soft-landing vertically.

The armed variant in blue for the Indian Air Force (IAF) was piloted by Wing Commander C.D. Upadhyaya and the utility variant in olive green for the Indian Army by Wing Commander Unni Pillai, both HAL test pilots.

"As the flight was meant for demonstrating the operational capability of the Shakti engine, we flew at low speeds and limited our manoeuvres," Upadhyaya told IANS after landing.

"We will open the envelope as we undertake more such flights in the coming months and widen the helicopter's scope in battlefield conditions," he added.

Designed for multi-mission, multi-role operations, the armed version of Dhruv provides flexibility to meet the stringent requirements of the army and the air force.

The new glass cockpit will have the latest avionics and weapon systems. The four flat multi-functional colour displays on the dashboard will provide all the information the pilots will require during an operation.

Baweja said a modern electronic warfare suite comprising a radar warning receiver, a laser warning receiver and missile approach warning system would detect a missile even as it was launched towards the copter and trigger countermeasures to deceive and deflect it.

"The fast detection and assessment of the threat and quick response by the launch of decoys to deflect the missile will make the difference between survival and death," he added.

The IAF variant will be equipped with "fire and forget" air-to-air missiles that can be launched in both the visual range and beyond visual range modes. The helicopter's 20 mm turret gun can be linked either to an electro-optical system or the pilot's helmet pointing system, Upadhyaya explained.

The military variant will also be integrated with "fire and forget" anti-tank guided missiles.

For operating in all-weather conditions during day or night, the new generation Dhruvs will be equipped with an electro-optical day/night observation and targeting system consisting of an infra red camera, close-circuit colour television camera, a laser range finder and a laser designator.

"The state-of-the-art integrated system will provide high performance visual imagery of terrain and targets even in total darkness and allows day and night operation with sensors. The ability to detect, identify and range the target will optimise its weapons' utilisation," Upadhyaya noted.

As part of certification process, the Shakti powered Dhruv will be test flown here and at sea level. It will also be flown at high altitude in the Himalayas and in the hot deserts of Rajasthan.

Israel inducts DRDO’s researched and developed Dhruv


3 Sep 2007, 1115 hrs IST,PTI

NEW DELHI: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) chairman Ashok Baweja said that India's security establishment will order at least 200 Dhruv advanced light helicopters. Baweja made the comments during a ceremony in Israel introducing the helicopter.

In a deal that may progress to joint production, the Israeli MOD has leased a single Dhruv helicopter through Israeli Aircraft Industry (IAI) to transport VIPs and security services personnel.

So far VIP transportation has been handled by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) which uses the Blackhawk helicopter for the purpose. The arrangement between the MOD and IAI to partly outsource VIP transportation to IAI is expected to boost the chances of IAI obtaining an export order for the helicopter. IA1 will market the Dhruv in South America, the Middle East, and eventually in Asia and Africa.

The Dhruv is a multi-role and multi-mission helicopter designed to be flown at altitudes over 20,000 but also down to hot deserts and on sea missions. It can carry up to 14 people or a 1.5-ton payload. It is equipped with an advance avionics suite made by the Lahav division of IAI.

The helicopter is powered by the Snecma TM 333. The engine was developed for 5-ton-class helicopters and started its career as powerplant of Eurocopter's twin-engine Dauphin and Panther. It develops some 801 kW (1,074 shaft horsepower) at takeoff, with growth potential to 900 kW (1,200 shp).

HAL plans to display the Dhruv along with the IJT at the Paris Air Show in June this year. The average price of the Dhruv is around $5.5 million

Dhruv helicopter continues to demonstrate why it is a front runner for any customer seeking a medium class state of art helicopter. First, it broke the world record for highest cruise by a medium class helicopter in November last year.

Recently, in April 2005, Dhruv again proved its unsurpassable capability, this time at sea level.

ONGC, which has a pressing need for medium class helicopter for its offshore operations, required a demonstration of landing at its production platforms, floating rings and unmanned rigs. ONGC required this to be done with maximum possible passengers, while maintaining within Performance Class I criteria.

This is a safety criteria which requires the helicopter performance and design to be such that the helicopter can fly away or land safely in case of one engine failure. DGCA has now made Class I performance mandatory for offshore operations.

The Indian Airforce had carried out extensive trials of Dhruv in offshore role successfully in 2003 itself. However, Dhruv demonstrated all this again at ONGC’s furthest field, Bombay High South, with ONGC observers onboard in April this year.

The demonstration showed beyond doubt that Dhruv could meet Performance Class I criteria with 12 to 14 passengers even while operating to ONGC’s furthest oil field ex Juhu, Mumbai.

This performance was remarkable, as no other medium class helicopter currently deployed in offshore operations ex Mumbai can match this performance of Dhruv.

HAL is confident that the Civil helicopter market would have taken note of the excellent performance of Dhruv both at sea level and extreme high altitudes. The demonstrated excellent performance, comparatively large cabin space and state of art technology are likely to give Dhruv an edge over its competitors in the fast growing civil helicopter market.

DRDO’s researched and developed Dhruv all set to be inducted in Siachen sector


3 Sep 2007

JAMMU: The indigenously developed Dhruv helicopter is set to be inducted by the army in the Siachen sector after successfully completing trials at the world's highest battlefield.

The test trials were conducted in February, defence sources said.

After its formal induction, the first advanced light helicopter would join the MI-17V, Chetak, Cheeta and Chetan helicopters, which flies daily in Siachen skies for over 35 hours in a month for logistic, communication, casualty evacuation and supply support.

Dhruv qualified for high-altitude glacier flying with flying colours on February 15, the sources said, adding the helicopter would prove as an air taxi with support system for all weathers to the Indian soldiers.

The helicopter has cleared its validation processes, including test for high altitude and low temperature flying, which makes it ready to hover above the Siachen, they said.

"Dhruv passed this test trials last month and it is now fit for flying in the Siachen sector in all conditions and conduct all types of operations," a defence source said.

Manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bangalore and inducted into the Indian Air Force in 1998, Dhruv as "a multi-role chopper proved best on all the fronts in terms of operations relating to search and rescue, emergency airlift, air ambulance, evacuation, payload deliveries in high altitude posts and carriage of men and material", the source said.

The trials were carried by commanding officer of the Chandigarh-based Dhruv squad, Squadron Leader Sandesh Mitra for over a six-months period at different times and weather conditions.

Dhruv, indigenously developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation, performed beyond its limits of expectations in Siachen and surprised even its pilots as flying a helicopter of 5.6 tonnes at 23,000 feet above the sea level is virtually impossible, the sources said.

The helicopter has of late become a favourite of the navy -- operating to great effect in casualty evacuation in sea and coastlines alike.

While the Kochi-based Southern Naval Command has one unit of the helicopter specially designed for sea waters with rafts below them, Dhruv has two squadrons in Bangalore and Chandigarh.

While Bangalore has the world's best Sarang squadron of Dhruv advanced light helicopters, the Chandigarh-based 114 Helicopter unit is famous as the 'Himalayan dragons'.

HAL delivers Dhruv to Jharkhand


September 03, 2007

Bangalore: The safe landing of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL’s) Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv at Ranchi, the Jharkhand capital, on last Thursday marks the first delivery of the 5.5 tonne class helicopter to any State government.

Commenting on the delivery of the Dhruv to the Jharkhand government, HAL’s Chief Test Pilot (Rotary Wing) Wg. Cdr. (Retd) C.D. Upadhyay told The Hindu that the Chief Minister of Jharkhand Madhu Koda “was pleased and impr essed” with the helicopter after being taken for a sortie.

Though the ALH’s biggest customer was the Indian defence forces, the HAL is also keen to market the helicopter in the civil market. “Two Dhruvs are flying with the Government of Nepal, one has been leased to the Government of Karnataka and the Oil and Natural Gas Commission will be getting their third Dhruv later this week.”

The HAL was holding talks with a number of overseas countries including Turkey, Venezuela and Bolivia.

23 Pilotless Target Aircraft Lakshya have been inducted into the Indian defence services

23 Pilotless Target Aircraft Lakshya have been inducted into the Indian defence services.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007 18:46 IST

So far, 23 Pilotless Target Aircraft Lakshya have been inducted into the defence services.

Pilotless Target Aircraft Lakshya was researched and developed by the DRDO research laboratories.

The production cost of one aircraft is Rs. 293.75 lakh. Some countries, like Singapore, Malaysia and Israel have expressed interest for “paid demonstration” of the Lakshya aircrafts as a target.

A similar “paid demonstration” was conducted for Israel’s Air Force during the year 2002.

This information was given by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Ramdas Athawale in Lok Sabha today.

61 Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters have been produced-Defence Minister A.K.Antony

61 Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter's have been produced-Defence Minister A.K.Antony


Wednesday, September 05, 2007 18:44 IST

The DRDO researched and developed Dhruv ALH(Advanced Light Helicopter) was the first Indian attempt at indigenous production.

The Serviceability of ALH has show improvement over a period of time with extensive product support provided by M/s. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in the areas of supply of spares, tools & other equipment and also technical & logistics support at operational bases.

In order to support the ALH in a full integrated manner, HAL has set up a new division for maintenance and overhaul of all critical systems including engines, avionics, transmission system etc. fitted on ALH.

The ALH was inducted in the Armed Forces in 2001-2002. A total of 61 ALHs have been produced so far. Production programme is in accordance with the requirement of the Armed Forces.

This information was given by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Anandrao V. Adsul and Shri Adhalrao Patil in Lok Sabha today.

DRDO’s BrahMos Missile inducted into the Indian Army and Navy: Defence Minister A.K.Antony

DRDO’s BrahMos Missile inducted into the Indian Army and Navy: Defence Minister A.K.Antony


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

DRDO’s Brahmos supersonic cruise missile has gone through a series of successful flight trials launched from ship and from road mobile launchers for Navy and Indian Army.

The system has been inducted in the Indian Navy and Indian Army. The missile, which can be launched from submarine, is also ready and awaiting the necessary platform for trials Indian Navy will soon identify the platform.

The development of Air version of the Brahmos missile is also in progress and will be integrated on IL-38 for the Navy and SU-30 MKI for the Air Force.

This information was given by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Hansraj G. Ahir in Lok Sabha today.

LCA`s naval version scheduled to fly by middle of next year

Bangalore, Sept 01,2007

The naval version of the light combat aircraft is slated to fly by middle of next year, P S Subramanyam, Programme Director, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Bangalore, said.

Two prototypes have already been approved he said while speaking at the Aeronautical Society of India here today.

The naval version would have a bigger cockpit and windscreen besides being capable of operating from an aircraft carrier, he said.

Work was also on, on developing the concept of the Medium Combat Aircraft (MCA), a twin Engined aircraft, optimised for strike missions, he said.

The project is still awaiting approval. But teams were working on bits and pieces on the technology of the airfcraft, he said.

The design objective of the MCA, among others, would be stealth, thrust vectoring and supercruising. It would have some of the features of the LCA in addition to some critical advance technology.

It was also working on the concept of supersonic lead in fight trainer, (Slift),a new trainer that will help prepare combat pilots much more effectively and at an affordable cost.

Speaking on the occasion, T Mohan Rao, Director, Gas Turbine Research Establishment at Bangalore, outlined the ongoing work on the Kaveri engine that would power the LCA.

DRDO to foray into export of military hardware

Aug 30 2007

After catering to the requirements of the Indian armed forces for decades, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is now eyeing export of military hardware taking advantage of lower production costs at home.

DRDO sees export potential for certain types of rifles, rockets, and radars, while it had also secured orders for delivery of BrahMos cruise missle developed by an Indo-Russian joint venture, its Chief Controller (R&D) Dr W Selvamurthy, told PTI here.

While DRDO's mandate continues to be to meet the requirements of India's defence forces, the research firm has found that the technologies, products and systems developed in the process have overseas market.

"The cost of R&D and production is less in the country. Our prices are very competitive in the international market. We may be able to export certain systems", Selvamurthy said.

DRDO would target friendly neighbouring countries as well as third world nations for exports; "other countries" have evinced interest to buy BrahMos missiles.

"But we will be selective in giving it (things developed by DRDO) to other countries. We cannot give it to those who are not friendly to India", the DRDO official said.

According to him, a Mumbai-based firm has sought permission to export respiratory masks, the technology of which was transferred to it by DRDO.

DRDO developing special armour panels for Dhruv

The Indian Army’s indigenously developed Dhruv advanced light helicopter will now have locally developed special armour panels for protection against enemy fire.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has designed and developed lightweight ceramic-faced composite armour panels for the Dhruv’s army variant.

The armour panels, according to a recent in-house DRDO bulletin, will protect the aircrew and the flying machine’s critical parts against heavy calibre small arms fire.

The panels will be able to withstand hits from 12.7 mm armour piercing ammunition.Composite laminates were made from modified epoxy resin and reinforced with Kevlar fabric. Kevlar-epoxy composite laminates of different thickness have been prepared, depending upon the criticality and vulnerability of the components they are meant to protect.

The composites were made in accordance with the requirements put forward by the Helicopter Division of Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which designed and developed the Dhruv.

Armour test panels, according to the DRDO, had been subjected to firing trials against 12.7 mm ammunition at Ordnance Factory, Varangaon, and these were able to provide successful ballistic protection.

Prototype armour panels have been manufactured in collaboration with a Bangalore-based private aviation firm in accordance with user requirements.

Carriage and flight trials of the panels have also been “successfully” conducted.

The development of indigenous composite armour assumes significance in the light of the Army going in for armed versions of Dhruv for tactical battlefield support missions.

The Indian Army, which has two squadrons of the Dhruv, is reported to be raising a third squadron on this type, which would be the armed variant. HAL has integrated a range of weapon systems and mission control suites with the helicopter and the evaluation is under way.

Dhruv will have an anti-tank capability and also provide close air support to ground columns against enemy formations and defences.

Battlefield surveillance will be another role. Data-link for command and control, air-to-ground missiles, rockets, machine guns along with electronic warfare suite and self defence measures which include missile warning receivers, flare and chaff dispensers and infra-red jammers are being retro-fitted on the Dhruv.

DRDO developing technology for UCAV

Bangalore: India has joined a select group of countries that have launched programmes to develop the technology for an Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV).

The UCAVs or ‘combat drones,’ which are the latest class in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), differ from the latter in that they are specifically designed to deliver weapons and attack targets, possibly with an even higher degree of autonomy.

The Indian programme, which is an internal effort from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), will involve developing the know-how for a swept wing, stealth design and composite construction technical demonstrator that will demonstrate “the technical feasibility, military utility and operational value for a networked system of high performance” weaponised UCAVs.

Disclosing aspects of the programme the DRDO’s Chief Controller, Research and Development (Aeronautics and Material Sciences), D. Banerjee, said that with “stealth obviously be an important issue” the fuselage would have to carry internally housed weapon bays.

Stealth would also require the power plant to be internally mounted and of a non-afterburning turbofan engine type.

Specifications for issues such as payload, endurance, retractable landing gear and hard points for auxiliary fuel tanks are yet to be finalised. Dr. Banerjee added that the DRDO had already created facilities for radar cross simulation (identification of radar reflecting areas) and measurement of radar cross section (describes the extent to which an object reflects an incident electromagnetic wave).

He disclosed that the Bangalore-based DRDO laboratory, the Aeronautical Development Establishment, would be the nodal agency for the UCAV programme. Current UCAV concepts call for aircraft which can operate virtually autonomously. The UCAV will be programmed with route and target details, and can conduct the mission without help from human controllers.

Current global programmes include the French nEWROn, Israel’s Eitan, British Taranis, China’s Anjian and the US’s X-45. These programmes which are basically meant to demonstrate that the technology are in various stages of development.

The UCAVs can be used for Suppression of Enemy Air Defences, electronic warfare, surveillance, precision strike and associated operations. Dr. Banerjee also disclosed that the DRDO was looking for a partner from the private sector for its Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

While the Expression of Intent has already been put out, a formal Request for Proposal will be out in September, with a partner being chosen within four months.

The DRDO’s MALE surveillance UAV is expected to have an endurance of 24 hours, can operate at 35,000 ft., and will have autonomous take-off and landing, wheeled undercarriage and a single (Rotax) piston engine.

Indian submarines to be armed with DRDO's BrahMos missiles

Zhukovsky (Russia), Aug 24: Indian Navy will induct DRDO 's submarine-launched BrahMos cruise missiles and preparations are underway for their trial, an official said here.

Spokesman of the Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos aerospace, Alexander Maksichev said that it was not yet decided which of the Indian naval submarines will be armed with the deadly cruise missiles.

"India is mostly building French Scorpene class submarines. But soon the Indian navy will have to decide about additional submarines.

"It is not known yet which submarines, but what is certain is that they will be fitted with BrahMos missiles," Maksichev said speaking on the sidelines of ongoing international aerospace show Maks-2007 here.

Preparations are underway for their trial, the official said.

BrahMos aerospace has its own stall at the aerospace show and is displaying models of ship, land, air versions of the cruise missile with the speed twice that of sound, amid growing interest among potential buyers.

Under the joint venture deal, India and Russia have agreed to jointly develop, produce and internationally market the BrahMos cruise missiles to "mutually identified friendly nations".

According to experts BrahMos with a range of 200 km, developed on the basis of Russian Npomash`s `Yakhont` cruise missile will remain a unique missile for more than a decade and has a huge market.

However, some of the countries initially identified as `friendly` could undergo review by the russian general staff, according to the local defence ministry sources.