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New DRDO test range in AP for electronic warfare devices

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The Defence Research & Development Organisation is setting up a large field or outdoor test range for indigenous electronic warfare devices.

The Hyderabad-based , according to G. Satheesh Reddy, defence scientist and Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister said recently that the Defence Electronics Research Laboratory (DLRL) is working out the details and will comw up with a report within a year.

“An EW test range is among the [national defence] priorities for the coming years,” Dr. Reddy said on the sidelines of an annual EW conference in Hyderabad in Tuesday.

DRDO has already chosen the place for its 2700-acre National Open Air Range for testing missiles. The devices produced by the new test range will be produced in India to be later fitted on war planes, ships and Army tanks. 

EW devices are now tested indoors in labs and are qualified for use in a year or two. An outdoor range will vastly cut this time, a DRDO veteran said.

EW devices broadly include radars, transmitters, antennas, sensors and communication devices – the Forces’ “ears and eyes “for detecting enemy presence or deter its intelligence-gathering.

Dr. Reddy earlier said India had done reasonably well in EW; yet public and private manufacturers and research entities need to step up efforts in a fast changing global technology scene.

On the positive side, DLRL and the Defence Avionics Research Establishment in Bengaluru were in an advanced stage of developing indigenous seekers and AESA radars. Some of the EW areas may not require imports in the near future, he said.

A.K. Kalghatagi, Director (R&D) of co-host Bharat Electronics Ltd., said the EW devices market was globally estimated at $30 billion; and nationally at Rs. 30,000-40,000 crore.

Air Marshal P.P. Reddy, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, called for creating skilled personnel to support the sensitive systems.

Some 300 delegates are participating in the fourth EW conference organised by the India chapter of the Association of Old Crows and DRDO. AOC is a body of professionals engaged in military intelligence technologies.

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