Walking down the ‘Make in India’ footprints, the Ministry of Defence recently unveiled an Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) in Karnataka, that will aid the research wing to conduct various flight-tests of indigenous unmanned and manned aircraft.
The defence minister of India, Arun Jaitley inaugurated the newly built Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at Chitradurga in Karnataka, earlier this week. While he addressed a gathering of eminent scientists and other defence personnel on the occasion, the defence minister spoke vividly about the facilities and research opportunities this ATR will bring to the table. Jaitley articulated how the ATR will help in creating conditions for research, which will, in turn, develop the type of human resource in the country required in the field of aeronautical testing.
Complimenting the vital role of the DRDO towards self-reliance and promoting ‘Make in India’ efforts, Jaitley said the development of the test range will cater to the needs of DRDO for testing of indigenously developed aeronautical systems. He said the facility would also contribute to the development of the region where Chitradurga is located.
The ATR is the first of its kind range in the country exclusively meant to conduct flight tests of indigenous unmanned and manned aircraft, developed by the DRDO including the naval and trainer versions of the Light Combat Aircraft, the unmanned air vehicles – Rustom-I and Rustom-II (Tapas); the Airborne Early Warning & Control Systems (AEW&C), Air-to-Ground weapons, parachutes and aerostats, etc. This outdoor testing and evaluating facility have been set up by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), one of the premier laboratories of the DRDO.
Spread across 4,029 acres, the 28 kilometre perimeter strategic test range envisages a two kilometre runway beside other tracking and control equipment where a rail link to the facility has also been planned. The state-of-the-art Range Control Centre (RCC) houses the Air Traffic Display System with remote control of radar operations, ATC RF Voice communication system, Ground Telemetry system, Mission Video Distribution and Display System and Range Operational Communication System. The radar centre houses Primary Radar and Secondary Surveillance Radar (MSSR). About 200 acres of land outside the technical area is earmarked for a township with a shopping complex, school, hospital, and transit facility.
The landmark event was attended by S Thippeswamy, MLA Molakalmuru; Janardhana Swamy, former MP, Chitradurga; and Dr S Christopher, chairman DRDO along with various officers of the DRDO and the Armed Forces, civil administration and distinguished invitees.