DRDO management council has given sanction for the project and is likely to commence in a few months
by Sudha Nambudiri
KOCHI: Even as the Indian Navy’s ships and submarines are being equipped with different kinds of sonars, defence scientists are looking at newer technologies to equip services to protect the territorial and the exclusive economic zone waters.
Naval research has turned to development of unmanned vehicles for defence applications. "This will be for surveillance purposes. We have developed a low endurance prototype and it has been tested in many waters," said Samir V Kamat, director general, Naval systems and Materials, DRDO.
He said that the DRDO management council had given sanction for the project and was likely to commence in a few months. "Countries like the US and China are working on underwater drones which will fire torpedoes. As of now, this is our immediate project. But it is not on a mission mode. It is being taken as a technology demonstrator which can then be tailor-made for the navy depending on their needs," he said.
The Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) can be used for different roles including working as a courier between the navy and the submarine, situation assessment for the subsea, surface and air units for coordinated action, defensive and offensive roles etc. The AUV can play an active role in the oil and gas industries for seabed surveys as well as in search and rescue operations.
"We are looking at the power and fueling options," he said.
Yet another technology that is being discussed is deploying sensors in the waters, along the coast and the deep sea. With the presence of the Chinese submarines which have become active off the Indian waters, a sensor network has become important. However, the logistics of powering the sensor and its communication with the warships or the ground control is being looked at.
The coastal surveillance following the 26/11 attacks is already in place which work as ‘eyes’ of the sea and help the coastal security agencies in keeping track of events.