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Tribune Special
BEL developing weapon locating radars
Army likely to test system in Dec
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Indian Artillery’s ability to locate enemy guns is set to receive a boost. After having inducted a few foreign weapon locating radars (WLR), the Army will be testing indigenously produced WLRs.

According to Minister of State for Defence, Mr Rao Inderjit Singh, the Defence Ministry has placed a letter of intent on Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for procurement of 28 WLR systems.

The WLR, a joint development by BEL and Defence Research and Development Organisation’s Bangalore-based Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) is stated to be in an advanced stage of “internal evaluation” in the field.

The system is likely to be offered by BEL to the Indian Army for its trials and evaluation by December. BEL has been nominated as the nodal production agency for this radar.

With the “shoot and scoot” doctrine revolving around self-propelled guns and the artillery playing a decisive role in neutralising defences before offensive manoeuvres are launched, WLRs have become indispensable to counter hostile artillery.

The non-availability of WLRs was felt sorely during the 1999 Kargil conflict, where artillery had a major role to play. It was only after the conflict that the move to acquire WLRs gained momentum.

The Army had gone in for the US AN/TPQ-37 Firefinder radars. A deal was signed for 12 such systems, and according to reports, some of the systems have already been delivered. Meanwhile, DRDO had commenced its own project for firefinder radars.

The DRDO/BEL system is based on the Rajendra phased radar system, already in service with the Indian armed forces. According to available information it was during the tests for the Akash missile at Chandipur, that engineers noticed that the Rajendra radar was able to detect and track artillery shells being test fired at a nearby range. This led to the development of the indigenous WLR.

The system is mounted upon a TATRA vehicle and capable of operating in all terrains under any weather condition. It can track small and heavy artillery as well as mortar shells fired at high and low angles. Its detection range is said to be about 15 km.

Detection, location and tracking of targets is handled by advanced algorithms and state-of-the-art hardware and software. The ability of locate enemy weapons from the first round fired by them and transmit the data for a retaliatory strike even before the target or enemy weapons are redeployed, is the key feature of this radar.



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