SP's LandForces - - NEWS IN BRIEF -

In a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone for the Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics Ltd (HAL), the first Dhruv (weapon sys­tems in­te­grated) -- Dhruv-WSI or Ru­dra as it has been chris­tened— will be cer­ti­fied and ready for hand­ing over to its pri­mary cus­tomer, the In­dian Army, dur­ing Aero In­dia 2013. While a mod­i­fied ver­sion of the Dhruv air­frame— tan­dem seats— goes into the light com­bat heli­copter that is cur­rently in flight tri­als, the Army was of the opin­ion that an armed Dhruv with­out ma­jor mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the pri­mary air­frame would also be a po­tent plat­form, and be avail­able to the cus­tomer nat­u­rally much sooner. The Ru­dra is a re­sult of that. Ac­cord­ing to HAL, “a Ru­dra can carry forty-eight 70mm rock­ets. Th­ese rock­ets can be safely de­liv­ered at stand-off ranges of more than eight km. The tur­ret mounted 20mm can­nons can be cued to the elec­tro-op­ti­cal pod or the pi­lot’s hel­met. This pro­vides Ru­dra im­me­di­ate and ac­cu­rate fire­power against ground and ae­rial tar­gets. The pi­lot only has to look at the tar­get and fire. Fire and for­get anti-tank guided mis­siles with seven-km range make Ru­dra an ideal plat­form for ground sup­port roles. Ru­dra can carry four air-to-air mis­siles. Th­ese are in­frared guided fire and for­get mis­siles with off axis bore sight ca­pa­bil­ity. The pi­lot can en­gage the tar­get us­ing the hel­met mounted sight or with the elec­tro-op­ti­cal pod, while ma­noeu­vring.” The HAL brochure on the Ru­dra also adds, “State-of-theart sen­sors com­ple­ment this tremen­dous fire­power. Gyro-sta­bilised elec­tro-op­ti­cal sen­sors work on both vis­ual and IR spec­trum. Any type of tar­get will be picked up and tracked at large dis­tances, whether by day or by night. Th­ese tar­gets can be handed over to the guided mis­siles or at­tacked with rock­ets and gun. The laser des­ig­na­tor can des­ig­nate the tar­get for any com­pat­i­ble In an af­fir­ma­tion for the coun­try’s mis­sile pro­gramme, three top mis­sile sci­en­tists were hon­oured this year by the Government with Padma awards. DRDO Chief Dr Vi­jay Ku­mar Saraswat, Sci­en­tific Ad­viser to De­fence Min­is­ter and a sci­en­tist best known for his as­so­ci­a­tion with the suc­cess­ful Akash SAM pro­gramme, has been hon­oured with a Padma Bhushan. “It is DRDO that has got the award and it is a recog­ni­tion of DRDOs con­tri­bu­tion to­wards na­tion build­ing,” said Dr Saraswat. Dr Si­vathanu Pil­lai, DS & CCR&D and CEO Brah­Mos and Av­inash Chan­der, Chief Con­trol Re­search & Devel­op­ment (Mis­siles & Strate­gic Sys­tems), are the other two em­i­nent sci­en­tists of DRDO who have been hon­oured with Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri re­spec­tiv ely. The coun­try’s mis­sile pro­gramme has en­joyed an up­swing since 2008, with sev­eral pro­grammes coming to fruition and new tech­nolo­gies prov­ing them­selves.

Dr V.K. Saraswat

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