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Cutting-edge technology: DRDO's new priority

By A Correspondent
February 20, 2010 20:18 IST
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India will focus on the cutting-edge technologies denied to it by the West in a new roadmap for building defence technologies to meet strategic as well as asymmetric warfare in the 21st century.

Counter-terrorism will be another priority of the new strategy for the Defence Research and Development Organisation, its director general V K Saraswat announced at a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday ahead of the three-day meeting of heads of DRDO's 52 laboratories in New Delhi from Monday.

He said future weaponry would be a convergence of nano, bio and information technology, with laser-guided systems. Since future warfare would be network centric, he said every system from an individual soldier to the decision-making structure of defence would be made network enabled.

Describing cyber-hacking a major challenge, Saraswat said an emphasis on security of sensitive information was the topmost priority.

"We are making sure the communication network is robust and insulated from external interference," he said. He also disclosed that DRDO is developing alternate fuels to face the energy security wars.

Saraswat, one of India's topmost defence scientist, also announced that the laser technology will be inducted in all weaponry, including tanks, flying objects and guns, in the next 10 to 15 years.

He also disclosed that the DRDO was in the process of building a medium altitude long endurance system of unmanned aerial vehicle project 'Rustam,' after the successful testing of low altitude vehicles named 'Lakshya' and 'Nishant.'

In addition, a micro air vehicle project is at an advanced stage for tactical usage and support to infantry and artillery to monitor the battle grounds.

On the night blindness of tanks, the issue raised by Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, the DRDO chief said a fourth-generation night vision devise was under development.

He said the biggest challenge for the DRDO scientists is to design technologies for countering the low intensity conflicts and biological, chemical and nuclear war.

From ready meals to eat, energy capsules with one-year shelf life, to hand-held thermal imagers, night sight for machine guns, anti-mine shoes, demolition devices, suffocating smoke ammunition, chilly grenades and blast protection suits were few technologies in the pipeline to counter the low-intensity conflicts, he said.

Saraswat said these would come handy in fighting militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, insurgency in North East and Maoist rebels in various parts of the country.

"We are also looking at developing foliage penetration radar so that movement of vehicles and people moving around in jungles can be easily tracked," said Dr K Sekhar, DRDO's chief controller,  research and  development.

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A Correspondent in New Delhi