By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore/Hyderabad: Outsmarting the know-how denials imposed by the West under the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) developed in India are steadily finding a confirmed seat onboard multiple military platforms. The Research Centre Imarat (RCI) in Hyderabad today seems to have graduated in all the major technology areas of navigation, including sensors, SATNAV (satellite navigation) receivers, navigational aids, algorithms\schemes for different applications and infrastructure development. In the process, India has elevated its status on par with a handful of nations possessing a wide spectrum of sensor technologies.
The dynamically-tuned mechanical gyroscopes (DTG), optical–ring laser and fiber-optic gyroscopes, micro-gyroscopes and high-accuracy force balanced accelerometers (which measures the acceleration) are some hitherto-alien technologies now in India's command. (Gyroscopes are instruments that senses rotation). "Mastering these sensor technologies made the total independence from Western nations. These advancements have offered greater flexibility to configure and customize varied classes of INS of the users' choice," RCI sources said. "All missions are of very high precision strike capabilities, which is primarily decided by the accuracy of the INS. Today, we are on par with world leaders offering RLG-based (ring laser gyro) INS," sources said.
Agni-IV is the first missile on which a design version of RLG-based INS was used in mission mode successfully, probably signaling an end to imports in this segment. The navigation aids based on the different classes of inertial sensors developed by RCI is said to be not only meeting the requirements of strategic and tactical missile programmes, but are being heavily employed on combat aircraft, ships, submarines, tanks, unmanned aerial vehicles, torpedoes and smart munitions.
“The development ranges from highly miniaturized micro sensors-based system weighing around 300g for smart bombs and PGMs (precision-guided munitions) to a very-high accuracy 30 kg system for long-endurance naval applications,” sources said. Ultra high accuracy sensors development is already initiated for future needs of space and very long range missions.
The Inertial System Group at RCI is silently delivering solutions enhancing the multi-platform launch capability of the flight vehicle from ships (Rajput Class), submarines and aircraft (LCA & Sukhoi). “Our capabilities in the navigation systems are now being explored by world leaders who are keen to join hands for collaboration. The roles have been reversed and we are in pursuit of developing Navigation On Chip (a dream of A P J Abdul Kalam), which aims at miniaturization of systems, making them reliable and cost-effective,” sources said.
The preliminary development of a single chip NGC (Navigation, Guidance and Control) has already taken birth with System on Chip (SOC), SATNAV on Chip close to realisation. This will enable a low cost, low volume, low power and highly reliable system available for majority of the tactical and micro-air vehicles. "The energy requirements of the vehicle(s) will drop drastically and India will become a world leader in the critical area of navigation," sources said.
(CRACKING INDIA'S MISSILE CODE is an exclusive series currently on in The New Indian Express. In the days ahead, you will get to read a mix of news-breaks and tech-upgrades on current and futuristic missile programs of India, in addition to some human-interest pieces. Email your thoughts on this long-range series to firstname.lastname@example.org and point out factual errors, if any, that might have crept in despite my best efforts.)