Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Indian DRDO Talks Homeland Security with Saab, EADS

NEW DELHI — India’s Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO) is increasingly looking at technology partners for various projects to give its homeland security-related development work some thrust, and is talking with Saab and EADS for assistance.

A communication intelligence system project for army situational awareness at borders developed by DRDO’s Hyderabad-based Defense Electronics Research Laboratory
(DLRL) involves fitting 25 static and four mobile stations for interception. It will be partly inducted by year’s end and fully installed by 2011, says Sreehari Rao, DRDO’s Chief Controller of R&D for ECS (Electronics and Computer Science).

DLRL’s other electronic warfare projects include communication and electronic intelligence systems such as jammers. In addition to numerous projects related to ECS, DRDO also is working on developing ground-, wall- and foliage-penetrating radars within the next two years. But DRDO acknowledges it needs some help in crafting these and other technologies.

“Processing and antennas are critical and help us move faster,” R. Kuloor, director of DRDO’s Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), tells AVIATION WEEK.

“Foliage penetration is extremely challenging. Special frequencies will need to be used. The first level [DRDO will start with] is to see vehicles. To see men through foliage is even more difficult.”

LRDE says it is working on more than a dozen radar systems. It is developing radars for aerial surveillance up to 50-km. (30-mi.) range for the army and the Indian air force, which have been tested in the high altitude of Leh and can be “transported on mules or on helicopters.”

The lab is also looking at an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for use in the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), expected to be ready by 2013. “It will be first evaluated on our own test platform,” Rao says.

Still, foreign collaboration is underway, as Kuloor confirmed talks were on with Saab and EADS. “The decision will be based on technological requirements. We will then go for tendering,” he says.

One basic building block of an AESA — the transmit/receive module — specifically is where DRDO is expecting to work with its foreign partners. The package has an antenna element and contains a low-noise receiver, power amplifier and digitally controlled phase/delay and gain elements.
- Neelam Mathews

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