Radar power . . FOCUS:- DRDO Radar power . By- T.S. SUBRAMANIAN . . The LRDE, a premier laboratory of the DRDO, develops a range of radar systems to meet the requirements of the defence forces. . THE scene is a â€œbunkerâ€ on the wooded campus of the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), one of the premier laboratories of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in Bangalore. A radar is positioned near the bunker's window to face the road. Its piercing eyes detect and track a man walking a few kilometres away and the image immediately looms into view on a computer monitor. When the moving target quickens its pace, the rhythm is reflected on the monitor. When a man is caught crawling a few 100 metres away, the image on the monitor captures the slow motion. The man-portable, battery-operated Battlefield Surveillance Radar â€“ Short Range (BFSR-SR), has become a hit with the Army. Weighing just 30 kg, it can be brought into operation in a battlefield in about five minutes. It can detect, track and classify a variety of ground-surface targets within a detection range of 700 metres to eight kilometres. So far, 1,441 BFSRs have been delivered to the Army and 90 to the Border Security Force (BSF). Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bangalore, manufactures this radar. â€œWe developed the BFSR in two years to the specific requirements of the Army. The mandate was that it should be deployable in hilly, snow- bound high-altitude areas, should withstand very low temperatures, and be light in weight,â€ said S. Varadarajan, Director, LRDE. There was a felt need during the Kargil conflict in 1999 to develop a short-range radar to alert the Army about enemy intrusions on high-altitude terrain. â€œDriving Rain Chamberâ€, reads the quizzical legend on a box-like contraption in a building that houses the many-chambered Quality and Reliability Assurance Division on the campus. As the doors of the â€œDriving Rain Chamberâ€ swing open, we find the central processing unit (CPU), the heart of a radar system, being drenched in the â€œrainâ€ that issued forth from within the chamber. The CPU was being battered as part of the quality and reliability check to prove the radar's ruggedness. The CPU processes the data received by the radar, senses the target with the help of an antenna, and sends it for display. It can classify the enemy too. The building contains Combined Altitude, Temperature and Humidity (CATH) chambers, thermal shock chambers, dust chambers, corrosion chambers, and so on, where the various parts of radars are tested thoroughly before the systems are deployed in the field. The thermal shock chamber has three compartments. In the â€œcoldâ€ compartment, the temperature ranges from -700 Celsius to +800 C and in the hot cell, it ranges from 00 C to 2000 C. The third compartment has ambient temperature. The airborne radar systems are tested in these temperatures because when an aircraft climbs to an altitude of 40,000 feet (12,000 metres), the transition time from the ambient temperature to freezing cold is only 10 minutes. The airborne radar systems should withstand these thermal shocks. Even the gear box of India's Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Tejas, was tested in the CATH chambers. The 60-foot long, 40-foot broad and 32-foot tall anechoic chamber was set up in 1987 to test the equipment on the Arjun battle tank and later that in Tejas and in India's nuclear-powered submarine, Arihant. It is now used to test the radar equipment. â€œAny equipment should be compliant with electromagnetic interference [EMI], which cannot be eliminated,â€ explained D.C. Pandey, Outstanding Scientist, LRDE, who is also India's foremost expert in EMI and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). â€œYou can reduce the EMI to a particular level and that level depends on the platform [on which the equipment is integrated].â€ These platforms are ships, aircraft, submarines, satellites and the ground. In the anechoic chamber, the electromagnetic field is amplified and measured. â€œWe amplify the field and measure the effect, and make sure that the equipment is immune to the harsh electromagnetic environment,â€ Pandey said. With the radar systems undergoing such a battery of tests, it is not surprising that Varadarajan asserted: â€œThe radars, developed by the LRDE, are performance-wise on a par, if not better than, with the best in the world. The armed forces place repeat orders with BEL for a range of radars, including BFSR-SR, Rohini and Rajendra. Today, we are totally focussed on the development of radars for the three armed forces. We want the radars we develop to become globally competitive because the Army has the option to shop anywhere,â€ he said. The LRDE has developed the primary radar for the indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW & CS), which helps in tactical missions against enemy aircraft or in deep penetration strikes. The AEW & CS was tested during its maiden flight on a modified Embraer aircraft in Brazil on December 6, 2011. Tejas uses the antenna developed by the LRDE. W. Selvamurthy, Chief Controller (Life Sciences), DRDO, is proud of the galaxy of radar systems developed by the LRDE. They include the BFSR- SR; the weapons-locating radar (WLR) Swathi; the lightweight Bharani for the Army's air defence; Aslesha for the Indian Air Force (IAF); Rohini, the backbone of India's air defence; Revathi, the surveillance radar for the Navy; Rajendra, a phased-array radar, which is the core of Akash, India's surface-to-air missile system; the airborne maritime patrol radar, which has been integrated into India'a Advanced Light Helicopter; the Navy's Kamov-25 helicopter and the Coast Guard's Dornier aircraft; and the ground-penetration radar for locating buried mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and unexploded ordnances (UXOs). BEL is the LRDE's â€œproduction buddyâ€ for all the radars. The LRDE has now plunged into the development of a â€œthrough wall looking radarâ€, which can do remote three-dimensional (3D) imaging of terrorists hiding behind walls and detect even their heartbeats. The DRDO, with 52 laboratories located in different parts of the country, is one of the largest enterprises of its kind catering to the Indian armed forces. Selvamurthy estimated that the production value of the products developed by the DRDO in the last eight years was around Rs.1,60,000 crore. The Army has placed orders for 124 Arjun-Mark I main battle tanks, developed by the DRDO's Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) situated at Avadi near Chennai. Each Arjun tank cost Rs.18 crore, Selvamurthy said. The Army has placed orders for a batch of 124 Arjun-Mark II battle tanks too, which will feature a number of modifications on Mark-I. The IAF has placed orders for 40 Tejas aircraft, each costing more than Rs.150 crore.