Furthermore, nor is India the only country to do this- every country with a strong weapons development program has integrated R&D and academic institutes to differing levels, for developing countries it becomes even more vital, because there is always a limitation on resources and manpower. So its not grounds for jingoism either, because the PRC is doing it, Iran is doing it (ask Tom Cooper at Acig about the Iranian aerospace industry), and so is India. Last I asked someone who had recently got out of a stint in the ROC Army, even the ROC (Taiwan) has a similar set up. There is hardly a single country out there, which doesnt have strong linkages between academics and industry to varying degrees. India has achieved a good amount via this process, despite its resource constraints.
What one has to understand is where everything fits together.
Nor is the situation ideal, the amount of research that goes to academia every year is limited, in terms of funding and scope. Research orgs like DRDO/ISRO continue to face an elitist contempt, vis a vis the private sector which has farcical training packages conducted for new hires, but easily pays triple the amount a GOI assignment brings to the univ. This is going to be changed to some degree over the coming years via both initiatives like the Jadavpur one, as well as other issues (for instance GOI recently showed the finger to IISc over more funding, so IISc is now planning a dedicated research focus to bring in the Rs/-), which brings us back to point#1- its all about the economy, whether China or India or Trinidad or Tobago. The Indian academic community has to get more into the business of applied research as opposed to sitting out their tenures..the previous exaple I gave of a gent who did a huge Naval project. His senior in the Dept was offered the project, for twice the amount (humongous in those days)- he refused. He wanted to spend more time with his grandchildren. Ultimately this gent ran with it, and did the job. Otherwise, the Russians had offered to do it, and the costs (even during the friendship price days) were ridiculous. But over time, it becomes institutional knowledge, and other people chip in. Today that facility is one amongst a handful in Asia, which can do what it does, and its handled projects of increasing complexity. On a similar note, at a CSIR lab, a small project was sanctioned a decade back, to make one key component for DRDL, as an import substitute. Then they made the same for the Navy. Then the AF, etc. And today, it meets the bulk of our requirements and is still economical with low rate production. These are fairly decent examples of how the system (ie defence research in India) works, when it proceeds in an organized manner.
Last edited by Archer; 15 Dec 06, at 21:22.
Karmani Vyapurutham Dhanuhu
My bow is stretched for its task
Archer..good posts and good reading! You have put the point across very well!
All the answers here...
If you add up what Saraswat stated in other interviews, IAI shared the GreenPine architecture & acted as a consultant for the LRTR which has been developed for Indian requirements with locally made components. A couple of GreenPine were transferred for the ABM development to begin while the LRTR got ready. IAI otoh, is also upgrading the GreenPine to meet its requirements. It'd be interesting to see the MFCR used for the AAD.Interview: Vijay Kumar Saraswat
Chief Controller of Research and Development, India’s DRDO
Known in India as the father of the anti-ballistic air defense missile system, Vijay Kumar Saraswat began his career at the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) with the development of India’s first liquid-propulsion engine for the Prithvi missile.
Saraswat, who specializes in rocket propulsion, missile technologies, and project and technology management, today is the DRDO’s chief controller for research and development. His future assignments include development of India’s anti-ballistic missile systems, radars, C4I systems and integration of battle management resources into a national authority. For his outstanding contribution to India, Saraswat was conferred with the Padma Shri Award, the country’s fourth-highest civilian award, in 1998.
Q. Please describe the homegrown ballistic missile defense system. How many missiles will it have for different layers of threats?
A. Our missile configuration is a three-layered missile defense configuration. We are planning to engage ballistic missiles at the exo-atmospheric layer, i.e., the layer where it enters the atmosphere, and the endo-atmospheric layer, where there is a thermally sensitive atmospheric layer. This configuration gives us the best probability of killing a ballistic missile coming to us. To increase hit probability, we can plan to launch two to three missiles each for exo- and endo-atmospheric.
The missile that demonstrates our capability to intercept ballistic missiles at exo-atmospheric altitudes is called PAD. It is a two-stage missile. The first stage is liquid, and the second is a solid rocket motor with many additional features, which are leading to an interception or engaging the ballistic missiles. For example, it has seeker guidance, divert thruster which can generate a lateral acceleration at more than 5 Gs at 50 kilometers altitude.
Q. How many missiles in the system?
A. There are two layers. At each battery there is a multiple launcher with multiple missiles.
Q. What is the configuration of BMD?
A. In a typical battery, you have the long-range radars, missile launchers, mission control center and other ground systems.
The complete network of radars, launch batteries, missile control centers, launch control centers. These are geographically distributed and are connected to a very potent secure communications network.
The radar is looking at a particular elevation and detects incoming ballistic missiles. This information is sent to the mission control center(MCC), which then decides whether it is a missile interceptor or a satellite or any other projectile, and it does target classification within a few seconds. When the target is classified, the MCC also calculates where the impact point of the target is likely to be and where it is going to fall.
After the target is classified, the MCC also finds out the trajectory profile and the speed it is going to travel. Based on that, it assigns a target to a particular battery. This is called target assignment.
Once the target is assigned, the data goes to a particular battery, then control goes to the launch control center (LCC). LCC keeps on getting data from radar directly, and then it decides when to launch the interceptor. This is decided based on the data received from radar, on the speed of target, altitude, flight path. A ground guidance computation is done. It's a very complex computation from ground computation when to launch the interceptor. All this is done in an autonomous fashion.
Q. Can you tell me the timeframe?
A. For the 600-kilometer class of system, if a radar has spotted a target, the interceptor will be launched within about 180 seconds. It will be different for 200-kilometer and 300-kilometer missiles.
Q. What is the speed of the air defense missile?
A. It is between 4.5 and 5 Mach. The same system has the capability to engage 300-kilometer to 2,000-kilometer classes of ballistic missiles.
Q. How efficient is it?
A. Depending upon the area of threat, radars are deployed in that direction. We deploy the radar in such a way that a threat coming from that direction is detected. Once the target missile is detected at a point, a number of batteries are deployed. If a missile is passing through the zone of influence of one battery, that battery will be activated.
Q. Is this Swordfish radar?
A. No, it is Long-Range Tracking Radar. It has the capability to track 200 targets at a range of about 600 kilometers.
It can track the target and the interceptor also. So in this radar, we developed the complete software for doing the tracking and engagement of ballistic missiles.
Complete software for signal processing transmitter receiver modules, central processing units and complete ground segment — like cooling units, power supplies and the communication network — have been indigenously developed and integrated. Today, we have full capability to manufacture this radar in our country.
Q. How many radars have you developed in this class? When did this development begin?
A. We started working on this in late 1999, beginning of 2000, and we completed it in 2004. It has taken almost five years. We had also developed radar for the endo-atmospheric layer. It is called multifunction control radar. This is also a phased array radar. It also has the capability to beat the interceptor guidance, if required.
Q. How does the MCC work?
A. MCC is completely a software-intensive system for BMD, and this works on about 10 computers simultaneously. It receives information about the target from different sources. It could be ground-based radars, satellites or our own technical intelligence system. MCC is connected to all the elements of the weapon system through a wide area communication network. It does target classification, target assignment and kill assessment.
In addition, planning for deployment of radar and other weapon system elements is also done by MCC. It can also simulate all the types of track profiles and also simulates the interception using our interceptors, and then select whether interception will take place or not. It can also indicate how many missiles should be launched to intercept an incoming threat to give an assured kill probability. It acts as a decision support system for the commander.
Q. What is LCC?
A. It is the basic hub for launch of the interceptor. After a target has been assigned to a particular battery, LCC starts computing when to launch the interceptor based upon the information received from the radars, about the target. It carries out the checking of the health of the missile. It prepares the missile for launch in real time, carries out ground guidance computation.
After an interceptor is launched, the interceptor is provided information about the target through an uplink. The target real time data is transmitted through a very robust communication network.
Q. When will the BMD testing be complete?
A. It will take more than three years to complete our developmental activities.
Q. What is Phase II?
A. The same missile interceptors cannot cover all threats. Threat targets of longer ranges — 2,000 kilometers — will make our phase-II development.
During Phase I: Endo-atmospheric interceptor is AAD. This interceptor will engage targets at 25 kilometers. AAD is superior in terms of coverage area compared to PAC-3, which is 15 kilometers. You can see the difference. AAD’s equivalent is the Israeli Arrow, which intercepts at 40 kilometers. PAD is 50 to 80 kilometers. America is building a missile, THAAD — Terminal High Altitude Area Defense — that intercepts out to 120 kilometers, but it is still in development. However, a lot of failures have taken place during THAAD development.
Q. How many missile batteries would you deploy?
A. Nobody will give information on how many and where we will deploy them.
Q. Who will be the production agency for this?
A. We have participation of 30 private and public industries for various subsystems of this missile and weapon system.
Q. Who will build the radar eventually?
A. Radar will be made by a consortium of Bharat Electronics and many other private industries, facilitating private-public partnership, with DRDO as technology giver.
Q. And what about missiles?
A. Missiles and subsystems are also being made by many private industries. It could be government-owned Bharat Dynamics Ltd. — the preferred agency — or any other agency.
Q. What is involved in the development of a missile system?
A. A lot of different technologies are involved. For example, take the PAD missile. We started developing in the year 2000, and in six to seven years we have launched the missiles — whereas the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program started in 1983 and the first launch of Prithvi was in 1988, Agni in 1989, and we have developed other missiles like Akash and Nag also. One needs to work on various technologies for different systems in propulsion, control, guidance, aerodynamics, structures, power systems, launchers and other supporting ground systems.
Q. What does this mean?
A. We have reached the stage of technology development where we have technical maturity and technological qualification leading to subsystem production at identified production agencies. This is a very long, long process.
Q. What is the effect of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)?
A. When we launched Prithvi and Agni, it had affected the launch of all the missiles and subsystems. The MTCR was a major reason for delay in the 1990s in the development of our missiles.
Q. How did you overcome?
A. We launched a program called “Combating MTCR,” and because of that program, we developed all the unavailable materials, components and subsystems indigenously.
When you do such work, you have to depend on your country’s industries and scientific institutions. When the scientific institutions give support but industries lack the technological base to support this type of program, then we have to develop required integrated circuits, etc. We have to have set up like that and we have to spend money, and it takes time. That way, development of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program, we were involved in development of integrated circuits, material, irradiating elements. We spent a lot of money and effort doing that.
In 1996, the first Prithvi system was delivered. Despite MTCR, Agni-1 and -2 have been done. Akash flight trials were conducted successfully. The Nag imaging infrared seeker has been built. So it is to the credit of the Indian scientific community.
Now, the Akash air defense system is going to lead to production because this year, we are going for induction of Akash after a few user trials.
Q. What about the Nag anti-tank missile?
A. This year, we are going to conduct the user trials of Nag.
Q. What about the Trishul quick-reaction missile?
A. Development is completed. We are looking for more variants.
Q. What about the Dhanush ship-launched missile and Astra beyond-visual-range missile?
A. Dhanush we have already completed successfully. Astra is an air-to-air beyond-visual-range missile. Ballistic trials of the missile have been completed. Now, we are on to control and guidance flight-trial mode. We expect that by June, control guidance flights will commence. Now it is going per schedule and all the various technological requirements of Astra are being met.
Q. What are the spinoffs?
A. Once Phase-II interceptors are developed, these can be used as long-range interceptors of aircraft at ranges of 120 kilometers.
You see the question which you asked that it has taken 20 years to develop. Now you see it is not taking more than 5 years - 6 years. Even Americans also take time. Their missile program with industrial infrastructure, the cost is very high and they take six to seven years before a missile is launched. This is also time taken for development of PAD and AAD.
By Vivek Raghuvanshi in New Delhi.
Karmani Vyapurutham Dhanuhu
My bow is stretched for its task
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