BANGALORE: With the Indian Defence sector developing the blueprint for the latest long-range tracking radars (LRTRs), outsourcing contracts worth
crores of rupees will be up for grabs. Scientific advisor to the defence minister, Dr Vijay Kumar Saraswat, told ET that DRDO plans to outsource much of the work to develop six to seven LRTRs worth Rs 6,000-7,000 crore, to outside players.
This would include everything from manufacturing ancillary gear to the sophisticated software needed to run these programmes.
This has attracted a lot of interest from companies such as Bharat Electronics, Astra Microwave, Larsen & Toubro, ECIL, TCS and Wipro. Mr Saraswat, who is also the director general of DRDO, said that they would try to tap the combined synergies of the research conducted by individual industries and the R&D carried out in their own defence labs spread across the country for the project. "Modern warfare is not going to be fought in the battle field, but in control rooms," said Mr Saraswat.
The latest range of radars being designed will be an upgraded version of the LRTR already developed by DRDO in collaboration with Israel which are capable of detecting very small targets in the 600-800 km range and can spot objects as small as a cricket ball.
The Indian Defence stable already includes the likes of Swordfish, which has a range of 600 km, and more popular ones like Rohini and Revathi. The DRDO plans to upgrade the capacity of Swordfish to 1,500 km by 2011. The Indian defence is leveraging on the technology offered by private players to develop network centric warfare systems.
Infact, a more ambitious project the Defence sector has taken up is the Battle Management System, which provides tactical command and communication from the headquarters down to the foot soldiers.
Integrating this system involves a lot of networking of data. Defence officials said they have floated tenders for the test project of Battle Management System which currently is worth a few hundred crore which can even run up to a few thousand crore once fully implemented. "The project aims to integrate the Air force, Army and Navy", an official said.
"This includes the development of sensors, digitally enabled weapons, information grids which will enable the efficient functioning of the weapons," Dr Saraswat said.
Infact one of the recent fully digitised systems integrated by the defence sector is the artillery combat command and control system (ACCCS). According to Major General Rajesh Pant, VSM, additional director general information systems in the Indian Army, they have successfully inducted 'Shakti' ACCCS, which is a network of military grade computers which provides decision support for all operational aspects of Artillery functions from the corps down to the batteries. "We are automating this. This will be with the artillary at all levels in a year", he said.
The defence sector is also embarking on designing and developing an UCAV (unmanned combat aerial vehicle) or combat Drone, which will not only
conduct surveillance, gather intelligence and transmit it but will also help detect the target and destroy identified objects.
"The UCAV can be controlled at the command control centres which may be situated at a different location", Saraswat said. Even if one centre becomes defunct, the drone can be controlled and guided by other centres.
The network centric warfare systems of Indian defence will also include cognitive intelligence systems which can analyse the brain using sensors or even ultrasonic waves. This can be used in dealing with cases of espionage and army intelligence gathering. "We have begun research on at our life sciences laboratory. But it is still at an infant stage. A soldier’s mind can be monitored in real time", he said.
Mr Saraswat said technology is also being used in making weapon systems more tough so that it can withstand large shock loads and develop bunker buster systems which can penetrate deep into the earth.
"This will increase efficiency in ground-to-ground attack, ground-to-air, ground-to-sea and even underwater attacks," he said.