DRDO Demonstrates Indigenous Aerostat System
The DRDO demonstrated its indigenously designed and developed aerostat system capable of carrying electro-optic and COMINT payloads for surveillance. Trials of the system have been concluded on Saturday, December 25, 2010. These included surveillance all over Agra and interception of variety of communications. ELINT and RADAR payloads are also being developed indigenously. This platform is a result of development of a number of high end technologies in the field of aerodynamic design of balloon, fabrics, fabrication, hydraulic winch, electro-optic tether, high pressure helium cylinder manifold, active pressure control system etc in association with large and medium sized Industrial partners.
The system has been designed, developed and integrated by the Aerial Delivery Research & Development Establishment (ADRDE), Agra Cantt, a premier laboratory under the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) working in the field of parachutes, lighter than air systems, floatation systems and aircraft arrester barriers. ADRDE has developed and supplied various types of parachutes for wide range of applications viz. Paradropping men, weapons, Combat Vehicles, Stores etc, braking of fighter Aircraft and Recovery of payloads pertaining to missiles, UAV and space missions. Over the last few years, ADRDE has diversified into the field of lighter-than-Air (LTA) technologies and developed small and medium size Aerostats. Recently, ADRDE has developed a state-of-the-art medium size helium filled Aerostat and successfully test flown up to one km altitude at Agra.
Dr. Prahlada, DS & CC R&D (Aerospace & Services Interaction) congratulated the team and brought out the facts that ADRDE had graduated from a laboratory designing and developing balloons, parachutes and heavy air-drop systems to developing systems of systems. The complete balloons systems, ground based command and control systems, and payloads have been integrated for full exploitation. The gimbals, with 360 degree azimuth freedom and high degree freedom in elevation is highly stabilized and can carry out steering, scanning and tracking with high precision. The payload also carries thermal camera for surveillance during night and in low visibility condition. The electronic intelligence payload carries a communication intelligence system for capturing and analyzing all types of communications in air.
Health monitoring of aerostat and simultaneous command and controlling of payload from ground control station has been demonstrated. The system will be useful for three services, paramilitary forces as well as have civilian applications including disaster management. This milestone comes in the wake of new generation high altitude aerostats/airships that will be developed by DRDO.