In a major boost to indigenisation, Manohar Parrikar, the defence minister of India, today handed over four critical systems developed by DRDO to the navy. Admiral Sunil Lanba, the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), formally took over the systems which will be inducted to the forces under his watchful eyes.

Dr S Christopher, Chairman DRDO, was a proud man as the country’s naval force took delivery of a plethora of sonar systems. For equipping surface combatants, DRDO has developed ‘ABHAY and HUMSA-UG’ sonar systems. Meanwhile, ‘NACS and AIDSS’ sonar systems will be helpful in navigating India’s submarines.

Manohar Parrikar called for better synergy between the forces and eveelopmental agencies. He further lauded DRDO and its labortries for their work in delveloping indigenous platforms like LCA Tejas, Varunastra Torpedo, Pinaka MBRL systems and several missile systems.

These systems were locally designed and built by DRDO’s premier Kochi based Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL). The laboratory is a pioneer in designing naval sensory systems and has catered to the country’s needs for decades.

ABHAY is a compact hull mounted SONAR system that was designed specifically for shallow water crafts. The system can operate in both passive and active scanning modes and has been designed using the latest hardware architecture and advanced signal processing algorithms. The system can detect, localize, classify and track multiple sub-surface and surface targets.

DRDO said ‘a prototype of the fully developed system was tested onboard a dedicated naval platform and this has outperformed the expectation of the end users vis-vis the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard.’ These systems will be put into service onboard the navy’s Abhay class missile corvettes.


The newly inducted Sonar systems.

DRDO in the ceremony also rolled out the ‘HUMSA-UG’ system which is an upgraded version of the HUMSA sonar system. HUMSA-NG is an indigenously developed third generation, ship borne and hull mounted sonar system. The BEL manufactured system is an Active cum Passive Integrated sonar system, which has been designed for an array of naval surface platforms, ranging from stealth frigates to guided-missile destroyers. The navy plans to operationalise these systems on at least seven ships of three different classes.

NACS or Near-field Acoustic Characterisation System device has been developed using a near to far-field transformation algorithm. The device is used to find the far-field acoustic characteristics of sonar arrays from the measurements made in the near-field. It will also be used to measure the magnitude and phase characteristics of the sonar transmission and reception electronics and the transducers.

NACS has been integrated with the HUMSA-NG sonar array and has met the desired operational classifications. Modular and open-architecture design followed by NPOL allows the navy to calibrate this system at-sea with minimal technical assistance.

Chairman DRDO Dr S Christopher hands over AIDSS system to Chief of Naval Staff Sunil Lanba in the presence of Defence MInister Manohar Parrikar.

Chairman DRDO Dr S Christopher hands over AIDSS system to Chief of Naval Staff Sunil Lanba in the presence of Defence MInister Manohar Parrikar.

Another key addition will be the AIDSS or Advanced Indigenous Distress Sonar System (AIDSS). The system is classified as a distress sonar system which when fitted on-board a submarine functions as an emergency beacon device.  DRDO terms ‘AIDSS as a life-saving alarm system which has been designed to transmit sonar signals of pre-designated frequency and pulse shape in an emergency situation from a submarine for long period, so as to attract the attention of Passive SONARS of Ships or Submarines in the vicinity and all types of standard rescue vessels in operation.’

The induction of these four capable systems has enabled the navy maintain unmatched situational awareness in operational waters. These systems can safely be termed the ears of the navy which will go a long way in boosting the underwater surveillance capabilities.


© Karthik Kakoor