It was a proud moment for the Defence Research & Development Organization of India when the defence products it designed & developed were displayed in a big way on 26 January 2017, the Republic Day of India. DRDO contingent this year included 155 mm/52 calibre Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) and Medium Power Radar ‘Arudhra’.
In addition, as part of the Indian Army’s showcase were the mobile autonomous launcher based BrahMos missile system, weapon locating radar ‘Swathi’, Akash weapon system, CBRN Reconnaissance Vehicle - all designed and developed by DRDO. The spectacular fly-past this year included two first time products of DRDO- ‘Netra’, the airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system and LCA Tejas- which were the highlights of the event.
AEW&C System Aircraft: For the first time on a Republic Day parade show, the DRDO developed airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system was flown over the Raj Path, the venue of the annual parade. The Airborne Early Warning & Control System (AEW&C) is an ‘Eye in the Sky’.
It is a force multiplier, developed by DRDO for IAF with Centre for Air Borne Systems (CABS) as nodal agency. AEW&C system consists of multiple sensors for surveillance and signal intelligence. Induction of AEW&C into services early in 2017 will make the country self-reliant and position India among the top five countries of the world having this capability.
Another aircraft, Tejas fighter also made its maiden flight over Raj Path and drew huge rounds of applause from the spectators. ‘Tejas’ is indigenously developed by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), an autonomous society of DRDO and produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
It is a light-weight and multi-role four plus generation tactical fighter aircraft which can carry laser guided bombs and modern missiles to cause extreme damage to the target. Tejas’ made its international debut in Jan 2016 with participation in the Bahrain International Air Show. In the company of F22 of USA and Euro fighters, it demonstrated impressive maneuvers which were well appreciated. Tejas has been inducted into 45th Squadron of Indian Air Force at a ceremony held at ASTE Bengaluru in Jul 2016.
The other defence systems which were part of the Republic Day parade are:
BrahMos missile system:
BrahMos Cruise missile built in collaboration with Russia, is a
two stage supersonic cruise missile with a solid propellant booster as its first stage and liquid ramjet as the second stage. The missile has a flight range of up to 290 km with supersonic speed all through the flight, leading to shorter flight time.
It operates on ‘fire and forget principle’ adopting variety of flights on its way to the target. The missile carries a conventional warhead weighing up to 300 kg. The missile has been inducted into the Navy and the Army and the air version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile has been successfully developed for integration with Su-30MKI.
Akash weapon system:
The medium range (25 km) surface-to-air missile
‘Akash’ is a very potent supersonic mobile multi-directional multi-target point/area air defence system and can engage several air targets simultaneously using sophisticated multi-function phased array and surveillance radars in fully autonomous mode.
Indigenous development of the system has given impetus to the defence industrial base in the country and generated business of more than Rs 20000 Cr. ‘Akash’ weapon system has been dedicated to Indian Army in May 2015 and to the Indian Air Force in Jul 2015 by Hon’bleRakshaMantri.