Tuesday, December 28, 2010
DRDO Tests Indigenous Aerostat Radars
Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has developed the Aerostat radar which will help strengthen the air defence network of the armed forces and boost the country's surveillance and air defence capabilities. Developed by DRDO's Agra-based Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE) laboratory, the Aerostat is undergoing final trials with full payload and is expected to be delivered to the armed forces in the near future, DRDO officials said.
The Aerostat radars, which basically include sensors mounted on blimp-like large balloons tethered to the ground with long cables, are a long-standing requirement of the air force. The DRDO-made aerostat radar has been designed to rise one km above the ground and its payload includes electro-optical sensors and equipment for communication intelligence, they said. The armed forces have till now relied on Israeli aerostat radar systems, which have been deployed along the western frontiers and allow the defence forces to keep a watch on flying objects well outside its territory.
The radars on Aerostats can be operated either in a 360 degree search mode and can stay afloat round-the-clock for four to five weeks at one go. They are much cheaper and easier to operate than AWACS. India has recently acquired three AWACS systems from Israel and has plans of acquiring two more similar systems in the near future.
Both AWACS and Aerostat radars act as 'eyes in the sky' and help in enhancing the situational awareness of the theatre commanders to detect hostile aircraft and can be decisive in aerial combat operations by effectively positioning air defence fighters against them.