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OSINF Report: DRDO Developments 2019

Published Dec 28, 2019
Updated Feb 05, 2020

The Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) outlined the key developments in 2019 in terms of trials and developments in multiple spheres to include the Shakti ASAT test, LCA FOC, LCA Navy and a series of missile tests as well as the Igniter Complex outlined as follows:-

Shakti ASAT: The country joins a select group of nations with such capability. DRDO conducted an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile test ‘Mission Shakti’ from Dr APJ Abdul kalam island in Odisha on 27 March 2019. A DRDO developed Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Interceptor Missile engaged a Live Indian satellite orbiting in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in a ‘Hit to Kill’ mode. The interceptor missile was a three-stage missile with two solid rocket boosters. Tracking data from range sensors confirmed that the mission met all its objectives. The test demonstrated India’s capability to defend its assets in outer space and vindicated the strength and robust nature of DRDO’s programmes.

LCA TEJAS: In a landmark occasion, Light Combat aircraft Tejas Mk I for Indian Air Force was informally awarded Final Operational Clearance (FOC) on 20 February 2019. Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy handed FOC Certificate and Release to Service Document (RSD) to the Chief of Air Staff Air chief Marshal BS Dhanoa in the presence of Defence Secretary Shri Sanjay Mitra and chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Shri R Madhavan. IOC standard Tejas are already serving in the 45th Squadron of IAF since July 2016.

AEW&C for IAF: DRDO handed over the second of three indigenously designed Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system, Netra, to the Indian Air Force (IAF) on 11 September 2019 to augment the service’s network centric capabilities. The system was delivered to Bhatinda Air Force Station in Punjab. The system comprises an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, secondary surveillance radar, electronic and communication countermeasures, beyond line-of-sight data links, satellite communication systems, advanced identification friend-or-foe system, provides 240° coverage, and surveillance range more than 250 km.

Astra AAM. DRDO flight-tested Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) Astra form Su-30 MKI platform off the coast of Chandipur, Odisha. The trials were held from 16-19 September 2019. Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted the trials against Jet Banshee target aircraft simulating all possible threat scenarios. The five trials conducted during this period, tested missiles in different configurations. Three missiles were launched in combat configuration with warhead and neutralized manoeuvring targets to establish the end-game capability of the missile. The trial campaign also included a direct hit of the target by the telemetered missile at maximum range.

LCA (Navy) The first ever arrested landing of Light Combat Aircraft (Navy) at the Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) INS Hansa, Goa, took place on 13 September 2019. The test will pave the way for the indigenous platform to undertake aircraft carrier landing demonstration on board the Indian Naval Aircraft Carrier, Vikramaditya. Text book arrested landing heralds the arrival of true indigenous capability.

BrahMos Missile: DRDO, Indian Air Force and BrahMos jointly successfully conducted two BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles tests today, one each from land and air platforms. The first missile launch was from a land based mobile launcher, where most of the components were indigenous, including the missile airframe, fuel management system and DRDO designed seeker. The second launch of the missile was carried out by Indian Air force (IAF) from SU-30MKI platform against a sea target. The test conducted in user configuration, revalidated the ship attack capability of the advanced air-launched cruise missile.

Pinaka Missile System: As part of the series of flight trials of Pinaka missile system, two test firings were conducted by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on 17 DEC 2019. The first trial was conducted on December 19, 2019, wherein one missile was fired at 75 kilometre range.

QRSAM: Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) system developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was successfully flight-tested from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur off the Odisha coast on 23 DEC 2019. The missile was flight-tested with full configuration in deployment mode intercepting the target mid air, meeting the mission objectives. The entire event was monitored by Ground Telemetry Systems, Range Radar Systems, Electro Optical Tracking System etc. Earlier the missile was tested against live aerial live aerial targets from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur on 4 August 2019. Two missiles, developed by DRDO, were tested against two live targets, meeting complete mission objectives of engaging the targets. QRSAM, with many advanced technologies, engaged the targets at different ranges and altitudes. The system has been tested in final configuration with radar mounted on a vehicle and missile on the launcher. It comprises indigenous Phased Array Radar, Inertial navigation System, Data Link & RF Seeker, and is being developed for Indian Army with search and track on move capability with very short reaction time. The missile was earlier tested on 26 February 2019.

MPATGM DRDO flight tested indigenously developed low weight, fire and forget Man Portable Antitank Guided Missile (MPATGM) on 11 September 2019 in the ranges of Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh. The missile was launched from a man portable tripod launcher on the target mimicking a functional tank. This was the third series of successful testing of MPATGM. The missile is incorporated with state-of-the-art Infrared Imaging Seeker along with advanced avionics. The test paves the way for the Army to have 3rd generation indigenous MPATGM. The missile was earlier tested successfully on 13 March 2019.

DRDO’S Igniter Complex HEMRL, PUNE: Raksha Rajya Mantri Shri Shripad Naik inaugurated the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) Igniter Complex at High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) in Pune on 05 NOV 2019. HEMRL has created a state-of-the-art facility for design, processing and evaluation of ignition systems. The facility consists of process, assembly & storage buildings and a design centre. Remotely controlled sophisticated equipments such as Sieve Shaker, Planetary Mixer, Granulating Machine, Pelleting Machine etc are installed in the process buildings. Design, modeling and simulation laboratory; assembly and testing centre are also part of Igniter Complex.