Powered by young scientists

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by sasi, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. sasi

    sasi Senior Member Senior Member

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    Powered by young scientists
    The main strengths of India’s leading defence research organisation are its young scientists and their low attrition rate.
    Daksh, a battery-operated robot, whose primary role is to locate, handle and defuse improvised explosive devices.
    THE top brass of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is proud of the organisation’s two strengths: a young workforce and its low attrition rate. When the DRDO’s first interceptor mission in 2006 became a big success and celebrations broke out in the Mission Control Centre on Wheeler Island, off the Odishacoast, what stood out was theyoung team of scientists—men and women—who were behind the complex mission. They were all in their late 20s or early 30s.
    M. Natarajan, then Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, was quick to give credit to these young people and the advanced software they had prepared for the interceptor to bring down in mid-air a ballistic missile simulating the trajectory of a missile coming from an enemy country. “It is not ordinary BPO [business process outsourcing] software. It is advanced software” that was behind the mission’s success, he said. Natarajan explained why the interceptor mission required highly advanced software: an interceptor missile flying at several Mach speed and destroying an incoming ballistic missile is akin to “a bullet hitting another bullet”.
    Whichever be the DRDO laboratory—from among the 52across the country, from Leh in Ladakh to Kochi in Kerala—the most striking aspect is the cheerful young team of scientists and engineers. At 48, G. Satheesh Reddy, Associate Director, Research Centre, Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad, became the youngest Outstanding Scientist in any department in India. He is also the Director, Inertial Systems, in the RCI, which is one of the three missile laboratories of the DRDO situated in Hyderabad. Satheesh Reddy and his team developed the advanced navigation system that has contributed to the successful flights of five variants of the Agni missiles—I, II, III, IV and V—and the interceptors.
    This navigation system has found applications in submarines, ships, helicoptersand the light combat aircraft Tejas.
    At the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), RCI’s neighbour, it is again a young team that is working on several projects: Sunita Devi Jena in the RamjetTest Facility team; or P. Satya Prakash, A. Raju and A. Rolex Ranjit developing the Scramjetengine that will power the DRDO’s Hypersonic Test Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV).
    “The biggest strength of the DRDO is the young scientists,”said Manas K. Mandal, Director, Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR),a DRDO facility situated in NewDelhi. “They are basic to our strength…. It is a bottom-driven leadership.”
    Psychological side
    V. Bhujanga Rao, Chief Controller (Human Resources),DRDO, is happy that the attrition rate among the scientists working in the 52 laboratories is low. “Out of 7,000 scientists, only six to eight leave the DRDO a month. Which means about 72 a year.It works out to 0.1 per cent of the scientists’ strength. Basically, they leave for personal reasons.” Besides the scientists, 23,000 technical, administrative and allied staff are employed in the DRDO laboratories, Bhujanga Rao said.
    When other DRDO laboratoriesdevelop a wide range of products and technologies to empower India’s armed forces,the DIPR has a different mission. Its psychologists and scientists prepare soldiers to face the extremely cold conditions in Siachen and the cramped atmosphere in submarines; devise tests for the selection of officers for the Army, the Air Force, the Navy and the paramilitary forces; advise the Army on how to reduce the fratricide and suicide rates among its soldiers; and test the aptitudeof Other Ranks to be inducted into several hundreds of trades in the Services, amongothers. In other words, the DIPR is a centre of importance in military psychology and it does research in personnel selection, placement and tradeallocation.
    “We are now developing a new selection process for officers of the armed forces,” said Mandal. “It is called the De Novo selection system.” Byintroducing a few changes, theDIPR is securing the strengthsof the existing selection system to make the new selection process “more candidate-friendly”. The present selection process requires five days plus two additional days for the candidates to reach the selection venue and return to their towns. In the new system, the process will be reduced to three days.
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  3. sasi

    sasi Senior Member Senior Member

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    The selection process had to change because the nature of warfare has changed, the DIPRDirector said. “We must get officers who have the capability to face the challenges of tomorrow.” Human skills may not be able to cope with the speed with which technology is changing now. This gap cannot be bridged by training alone. “You must raise the base-line. Personality orientation needs to be redefined. That is the major issue,” Mandal said.
    The DIPR will develop a prototype selection process by 2013, which it has been working on over the last three years. The prototype will run parallel to the existingsystem for the next two years. When the DIPR is satisfied with the new system,it will do a follow-up study, based on which the DIPR and the Services Headquarters willdecide on inducting the new selection procedure.
    The new process “is not just a computerised test”, said Mandal. It will help the selectors understand the covert, overt and social behaviour of the candidate appearing for the test.
    The assessment of the candidate will be intensive during the selection process and will provide a comprehensive profile of the candidate.
    “Our basic task is to provide good raw material [candidates with officer-like qualities] to the National Defence Academy,the Indian Military Academy and the Officers’ Training Academy, where they are converted into finished products,” he added.
    Another project that the DIPR is engaged in is to find ways to reduce soldiers’ stress. The Defence Ministry was keen that the DIPR should go into the sources of the soldiers’ stress. The DIPR identified three sources—personal, social and occupational reasons —which could be called the root, the base and the trigger. “All forms of stress can be managed through certain mechanisms” and the DIPR hadpublished manuals that can beconsulted when “trouble” arose, the Director said. Besides, junior commissioned officers (JCOs) can be trained to counsel their men. DIPR psychologists visited field formations and base stations of the Services to help soldiers develop an “effectivecoping style” when they faceda conflict between which should come first—family, career or duty. “If there is a conflict among family, duty andcareer, we tell them how to prioritise them and develop aneffective coping style,” Mandal said.
    On the ill-treatment of jawans by Army officers which led to frequent mutinies by Other Ranks, including the incident at Nyoma in Ladakh in May in which Army officers and jawans clashed violently that left the unit’s commanding officer, two majors and two soldiers seriously injured ( Frontline , September 21), Mandal said: “I have not done any case study because we do studies at the systemic level and not at the episodic level. Since we are a civilian organisation, we study only the process of any incident but not any particular episode…. Based on one incident, it is better not to generalise because I have to secure the strengths [of the Army] and I have to refrain from over-generalising. If there are incidents, they mustbe stopped.” He refuted the argument that officers’ refusalto grant leave of absence to jawans led to rebellions. Leave was not an issue because 90 per cent of the requests for leave of absencewere granted, he claimed.
    Incidents of fratricide among soldiers, which was “very high in 2006 with 11 incidents,have come down to one incident now”, he said. Suicides among soldiers ( Frontline , September 21) had also come down and it hovered around 100 a year (that is one every third day), Mandal said. Against the national average of 11.8 per lakh, it is nine per lakh in the Army.
    “A good job we have done is the trade allocation system to Other Ranks,” said Soumi Awasthy, scientist, DIPR. The Army has hundreds of trades,covering a wide range, and they are allotted to soldiers. These trades include gunnersfor battle tanks, helicopters and ships; drivers for battle tanks, trucks and cars; nursing assistants; welders; plumbers; electricians; cooks; and so on. The DIPR has developed a fully computerised system for job allocation. These trades are allotted to soldiers after they join the Army. “Every trade isa job,” said Soumi Awasthy. “Matching the job profile with the person’s ability is important. The Army has introduced this system and it has given good results.”
    Incentives and awards
    From a scientist who has won several awards and led the Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL), a DRDO facility at Visakhapatnam, Bhujanga Raohas taken to the job of Chief Controller (Human) Resources,DRDO, with ease. He is in charge of the careers of 7,000 scientists and 23,000 technical, administrative and allied staff. He called the DRDO“one of the three premier research departments”—the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Department of Space (DoS) being the other two. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) comes under the DoS.
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  4. sasi

    sasi Senior Member Senior Member

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    “Of the three, the DRDO has the largest technical manpower and its budget is twice that of the DAE and twicethat of ISRO,” said Bhujanga Rao. He is proud of the diverse disciplines in which the DRDO laboratories are engaged in research and development. These disciplines include mechanical engineering, materials, life sciences, naval architecture, aeronautics, combat engineering, missiles, electronics and armaments.
    “The system of recruitment and training in the DRDO has evolved well over the years,”Bhujanga Rao said. Every year its Recruitment and Assessment Centre (RAC) selects several hundreds of candidates in a variety of scientific and engineering disciplines pursued in the DRDO laboratories and the RACassesses more than 1,400 scientists for promotion. The Centre for Personnel Talent Management (CEPTAM) recruitstechnical and administrative staff in the C and D categories.
    Promoting science
    Scientists of the DRDO are at liberty to publish papers in Indian and international journals and they are sent abroad for training. They receive “professional update allowance” to buy books and journals. They can pursue their M.Tech programmes and the organisation also encourages them to do their Ph.Ds. The organisation has a system of awarding meritorious scientists and these include the DRDO Scientist of the Year, the DRDO Technology Leadership Award and the Agni Award for Excellence.
    The organisation helps its scientists to patent the products they develop and it has a directorate for this purpose. Last year, the DRDO patented more than 100 products. “One of them related to designing stealth system for ships,” Bhujanga Rao said.
    “We need a lot of infrared suppression system so that the enemy cannot detect the ships. The infrared signature from the exhaust of the ship’sprime mover has to be brought down to the acceptable level. So, we have designed an infrared suppression system and it is now being used in almost all the new class of ships [with the Navy]. This has been patented,” he explained.
    The government of India recently introduced a performance-related incentivescheme (PRIS) for all DRDO employees. Under the scheme,any employee is eligible to receive a maximum of 20 per cent increase in his basic pay,depending on his/her performance. A high-powered committee will assess employee performance.
    There is a fast-track promotion scheme available for DRDO scientists, which is not available in other departments. “We encourage them to perform better and get promotions faster,” Bhujanga Rao said. A number of non-resident Indians (NRIs)apply to the DRDO for jobs and are interviewed over phone or through teleconferencing. If their performance is satisfactory, they are selected.
    NSTL’s facilities
    Bhujanga Rao, who was earlier Director, NSTL, Visakhapatnam, said the NSTL’s “important project” was the Varunastra, the heavy-duty torpedo developed by it. “The torpedohas been tested in various R&D trials. It has to be provenin user [Navy] trials. We expect to complete the trials by this year-end.”
    (Varunastra weighs more thanone tonne and contains about 250 kg of explosives. It travels at a speed of 40 knots, going in circles and bobbing up and down to attackthe targets. It has a homing device to detect and attack a target. Its guidance system helps it take the optimum path to the target. See Frontline , March 23.)
    The seakeeping and manoeuvring basin, another massive facility which is underconstruction at the NSTL, will be ready by early 2015. It is an artificial lake with a roof and it has a capacity to hold 240 lakh litres of water. In thislake, 135 metres long, 37 metres broad and 5 metres deep, waves will be generatedto study the seaworthiness and agility of vessels. The NSTL’s High Speed Towing Tank, with a water channel that is 500 metres long, helps scientists to study the resistance offered by water toships and submarines. In the cavitation tunnel, bubble formation on the propeller blades is studied.
    “These three are national facilities which can be used fordesigning warships and merchant vessels. Unless we have these three facilities, wecannot design a good ship,” said Bhujanga Rao.
    As the Chief Controller (Armament and Combat Engineering, and Services Interaction), S. Sundaresh controls nine premier DRDO laboratories, including the Combat Vehicles Research andDevelopment Establishment (CVRDE)—which developed India’s main battle tank, Arjun,and the Research and Development Establishment (Engineers), Pune (R & DE (E)).He is proud that the Army has placed orders for 124 main battle tanks each of Arjun Mark I and Arjun Mark II. As many as 118 Arjun Mark I tanks have been delivered to the Army. Two regiments of Mark I are already operationalised. The Heavy Vehicles Factory, Avadi, near Chennai, produced them.
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  5. sasi

    sasi Senior Member Senior Member

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    Daksh
    Sundaresh is delighted that the Army has inducted into service Daksh, a battery-operated robot on wheels, whose primary role is to locate, handle and defuse improvised explosive devices(IEDs). The R & DE (E) developed Daksh. “The Army has ordered 20 numbers of Daksh and they have been delivered. The Army has deployed them in the northernand western commands so that it can receive valuable feedback from the field,” said Sundaresh. The Army will use Daksh for locating and defusing explosives. It is useful to the paramilitary forces and the police in counter-insurgency operations.
    Daksh, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), locates IEDs with an X-ray machine, picks them up with a gripper arm and defuses them with a jet ofwater. It has a shotgun, which can fire and open locked doors and trunk-boxes containing explosives. It has special batteries that will allowit to operate for three hours. It can scan cars and two-wheelers for explosives. It can climb staircases, negotiate steep slopes and tow away platforms suspectedto be having explosives. It has specially designed rubberwheels that can withstand blasts and traverse rugged terrain. A master control station controls Daksh’s movements. A carrier vehicle can transport both Daksh and the master control station.
    The R & DE (E) has developeda Daksh variant to reconnoitre areas where nuclear, biological or chemical (NBC) agents could have beenused. It has sensors, a radiation measurement and automatic control (RADMAC) unit, a portable gas chromatograph and a global positioning system (GPS). It can move around and plot the areas contaminated by NBC agents. It transmits data aboutthe contamination and the location coordinates to the command centre.
    In another 12-18 months, the R & DE (E) will develop a new NBC reconnoitring vehicle. It isa wheeled version comprising a big vehicle from which will roll out several small robotic vehicles, each weighing about 50 kilograms. “The bigger vehicle will go up to a certain point and several robotic vehicles will roll out from it,” Sundaresh said. “These robots will move around quietly [and plot the contaminated areas].”
    Arjun mk2
    The Arjun Mark II battle tank, developed by the CVRDE, is currently undergoing technicaland user trials in Rajasthan. The major upgrades in Arjun Mark II include the panoramic sight with night vision to attack targets at night, missile-firing capability against long-range targets, an anti-aircraft gun to shoot down helicopters, penetrative ammunition, sensors to detect lasers fired by an enemy tankand a plough to weed out mines. It will take a few more months before all the user trials are completed. Sundaresh said, “We have done some upgrades to the panoramic sight of Arjun Mark II. We have done ammunition trials. We have ammunition with higher penetration and other types of ammunition. Wewill fire them and we will give them to the user to fire them. Arjun Mark II will have a remote-controlled anti-aircraftgun. It has been integrated with the tank and has been evaluated by the user. In firepower, it is as good as any other tank in the world.”
    On the Mark II being heavier than the Mark I, Sundaresh said: “While Arjun Mark I weighs 62 tonnes, Arjun Mark II weighs 67 tonnes. There is a difference of only five tonnes. Compared with Arjun Mark II, tanks of similar class such as Leopard 2, Merkava and M1 Abrams weigh between65 tonnes and 70 tonnes. Owing to terrain conditions, the Army said Arjun Mark II cannot be deployed in all parts of the border.”
    P. Sivakumar, Director, CVRDE,asserted that the mobility characteristics of Arjun Mark II, such as acceleration, gradient climbing, cross-country ride and braking wereexcellent.
    Sundaresh said the DRDO was developing the Mark II versionof Pinaka, the multi-barrel rocket launcher that fires the Pinaka rockets. While the rocket Pinaka-I has a 10 km to 38 km range, Pinaka-II will have a range of 60 km. It will go for user-trials by the end of next year.
    A kit with instruments for detecting explosives, developed by the High EnergyMaterials Research Laboratory(HEMRL), Pune, has gone into commercial production and is being distributed to different paramilitary forces. A United States company had paid DRDO$1,00,000 for the transfer of technology to market it in the U.S., said Sundaresh.
    /
     
  6. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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  7. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Nice pic and I hope the sickular brigade don't step in on this also
     
  8. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    What's the sickular brigade?
     
  9. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Usually secular word in India was about all religion cohabiting peacefully but nowadays its becoming appeasement of minorities at the expense of the majority.

    In the context of this picture these person who view everything from an anti-hindu stance could argue that given the DRDO is a PSU how can it do a hindu prayer before testing missiles.

    Its like in west black people play with the white men guilt :)
     
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  10. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    Ah, fair enough. Being a fairly atheistic Chinese, I'm not sure it matters very much who they pray to as long as they do the job right. How would, say, a Sikh feel though, if he was working in the bureau and asked to join in the prayer?
     
  11. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Sikhs I don't believe there will be any issue but a Muslim or Christian I doubt one would invite them.
     

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