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Thursday, December 22, 2011

TERMINAL GUIDANCE: Made in India seekers dressed up for fire play

By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore/Hyderabad: Missile scientists of Research Centre Imarat (RCI) in Hyderabad are ready with studs that will sit pretty on the nose of India's future missiles. These Made in India studs – popularly known as radar seekers – ensure terminal guidance and single-shot kill probability (SSKP) for the missiles. It is now confirmed that a long-range anti-ballistic missile seeker is currently cajoled before it's unleashed for India's big-ticket spit-fire show – Programme Air Defence (AD).
Scientists who might have been given a brief not to revel much to this 'Express-Seeker',  shared in bits and pieces that the new seeker will undergo tests in 2012 before getting onboard Programme AD, during exo-atmospheric intercepts. A milli-metric wave, all-weather capability seeker was recently successfully flight-tested on anti-tank Nag missile. “Currently, both seekers (against a battle tanks and against missiles\aircraft)  are undergoing a series of tests to prove its performance in a simulated environment and could be launched in a missile within one year,” sources said.
A seeker eats up 60 per cent of a missile's cost and the transmitter polishes off a major chunk of a seeker's cost. “We are in the development phase and are making six seekers. The current tests include performance in temperature, vibration, shock and HILS (hardware in loop simulation).  The range of the seeker depends upon the diameter of the antenna.  The seeker dimension largely depends upon the target, which is small for an aircraft and large for a missile. What is  most crucial is whether a seeker can deliver SSKP,” sources said.
The  Radar Seeker Test Facility (RASTEF) at RCI resembles a Hollywood recording studio with the anechoic chamber sure to stun a first-time visitor. Seekers in the next five years would have electronic beam steering, configurable processors so that it can take on a variety of targets. “They could work in dense electromagnetic environment, networked environment and carry out multiple functions of the missile like fuzing.  Further down the line there would be seekers working in different electromagnetic bands of operation to beat deception as well as improve accuracies,” sources said.
Currently the world leaders in missile seekers are Agat (Russia), Thales (France), Raytheon, Boeing (US)and Selex (Italy). It is a worthy wait as India masters the art of making seekers – one of the most denied missile technologies in the world. The cost of an imported seeker is Rs 2 crore and upwards and the Indian version is claimed to be 60-70 per cent lesser.
A technology denied, is a technology derived? Well, India might be almost there!
| Copyright@The New Indian Express |To be continued|
(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 anantha.ak@gmail.com and point out factual errors, if any, that might have crept in despite my best efforts.)
PART-8

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