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Challakere: prime military base of future

Discussion in 'Indian Defence Industry' started by ni8mare, May 27, 2017.

  1. ni8mare

    ni8mare FULL MEMBER

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    Challakere: prime military base of future
    Anantha Krishnan M, May 27 2017, 0:28 IST
    Oil and military matters have nothing in common. A sign board on the National Highway at Challakere says: Welcome to the Oil City (because of the numerous edible oil mills around the town). Another board points towards Voru Kaval village, the new home for Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) at Challakere taluk in Chitradurga district of Karnataka.

    On May 28, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley will inaugurate the ATR, being set up on the 4,290 acres of land provided by the Karnataka government. Following the completion of the first phase work, the range will be extensively used for testing and evaluating unmanned and manned projects of the DRDO.

    The DRDO has already positioned two of its Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) — Rustom-1 and Rustom-2 TAPAS (Tactical Advanced Platform for Aerial Surveillance) — at the ATR. Once the range becomes fully operational, the DRDO will test air-to-ground weapons, parachutes, aerostats and electric warfare flares. Officials say no test flights of ballistic missiles and commercial airline operations will be conducted at the range, sticking with the guidelines given by the National Green Tribunal.

    The current runway at the ATR is 2.2 km and it will be extended by another km in the next phase. This would mean that the DRDO would have trials of its Airborne Early Warning & Control Systems (AEW&C) platform, which is already inducted into the Indian Air Force.

    A state-of-the-art Range Control Centre (RCC) has a series of air traffic display systems capable of remote control of radar operations. It has an ATC radio frequency voice communication system, ground telemetry system, mission video distribution and display system and range operational communication system.
    The Radar Centre houses the primary and secondary surveillance radars. The ATR is protected by the 8-ft compound periphery wall spread across 20 km with a watch tower at every 2 km. In the coming days, the DRDO plans to have some smart fencing being installed inside the ATR, taking security measures to heightened levels.
    The DRDO had activated the range in 2010, just two years after the land was allotted to the defence body. Notwithstanding the ongoing work at the range, a safe drop zone was created for Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas to undertake air-to-ground weapon and drop tank jettison trials. Tejas had dropped practice bombs for the first time at the ATR in December 2010.

    In the years to come, Tejas MK-2, Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) Ghatak will also find the ATR a suitable home to carry out the trials. With the extension of runway, it is for sure that many fighter jets in future will fly over Challakere to make the best use of the ATR.

    The LCA will be the biggest winner with most of its future trials likely to be shifted to the ATR, giving the much-needed relief to the HAL airport in Bengaluru. More hangars are expected to be set up under various wings of the DRDO to undertake dedicated tests of futuristic projects.

    Villagers need jobs

    Most of the villagers around Challakere are hopeful that the DRDO will provide them jobs. While many local people are engaged in the construction work of the ATR, they are looking for permanent jobs.

    They say there are many educated youngsters who hold diploma degree in electrical and electronics and that the DRDO must employ them once ATR is operational. But the DRDO might find this demand a bit tricky, considering its centralised recruitment policy.

    While many villagers had earlier protested against the project while joining sides with environmental groups, the DRDO says all matters have been addressed as per the law of the land now. They say all the procedural clearances and the NGT nod are in for the ATR.

    Military-industry complex: Ahead of its inauguration on Sunday, the DRDO flew Rustom-1 from ATR to Mandya and back in two hours recently, testing some of the parameters set by the user. With Rustom-2 capable of flying non-stop for 24 hours undertaking various surveillance missions, it is just a matter of time before the DRDO puts the ATR to its full use.

    Rustom-2 will also probably fly in front of an invited gathering for the first time on Sunday, soon after the ATR becomes officially operational.

    With the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Space Research Organisation too setting up their facilities, Challakere’s story is sure to spread. An official at ATR said Challakere will be the future military-industrial complex of India.

    With more agencies likely to join the activities, it is a matter of time before Challakere becomes a ‘well-oiled’ and fully operational military base.

    (The writer is a Bengaluru-based independent aerospace journalist)

    http://www.deccanherald.com/content/613771/challakere-prime-military-base-future.html
     
  2. ni8mare

    ni8mare FULL MEMBER

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    Last edited: May 27, 2017
  3. ni8mare

    ni8mare FULL MEMBER

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  4. Butter Chicken

    Butter Chicken Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Wasn't this the "Secret Nuclear City"?
     
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  5. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Bengaluru/Challakere (Chitradurga): Among the many presentations made for Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visited the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, in February this year, the most interesting was an overview of the facility at Challakere that has long been seen as the 'Science City' that will rival Bengaluru as a science, technology and defence hub.

    Except, the buzz among insiders who concur with the top-secret 'Nuclear City' label given by Foreign Policy, is that Challakere is more than that, and it’s being set up with one aim only – to provide India an extra stockpile of enriched Uranium fuel that could be used in new Hydrogen bombs.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly heard of how dilapidated buildings of an abandoned sheep farm were renovated to house the Talent Development Centre (TDC) by IISc to train science teachers at all levels, and to accommodate them during a ten-day residential training session. He instantly sanctioned a couple of crores of rupees and backed the conversion of TDC into the first Centre of Excellence in Science and Mathematics under Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Mission on Teachers and Teaching of the ministry of human resources development (MHRD). With the help of MHRD, IISc will construct a new lecture hall, and has already built two check-dams in order to recharge groundwater in the barren campus which would, in due course, receive water from Vani Vilas dam built by the late Bharat Ratna Sir M. Visvesvaraya more than a century ago!

    The veil of secrecy over the facility being built by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), however, has stopped even scientists of IISc, who drive to Challakere every month to train teachers or keep an eye on new labs under construction, from gaining access to the atomic research facilities, atomic power station or one that will house nuclear centrifuges under construction at Dodda Ullavarthi, a village near Challakere. “We have seen houses being built for BARC engineers and scientists, but they are a couple of km away from their facility. They do not let us cross the barrier to look at these buildings, though they are still under construction,” rued one of them.

    Sources close to the BARC project said it would take a couple of years for commissioning of either the atomic power plant or the centrifuges, countering the report in Foreign Policy magazine that the facility would be ready by 2017.

    The same goes for the modern test facility being built by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for its Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAV) project and other advanced programmes in aerospace and missile technology. A couple of hangars are almost ready, as also the runway, which has been designed to cater to fighter jets or large transport aircraft.

    [​IMG]
    The IISc campus at Challakere in Chitradurga district

    Among those likely to be inaugurated next year is the Climate Research Centre of IISc, and funded by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), says Mr H S Jagadeesh, Special Officer, TDC, Kudapura. “The Research Centre should be ready in six months. Construction of the new skill development centre will commence next month, and could take about two-and-half years for completion. Work on some buildings supported by the ministry of IT & BT of the state government will also commence next year,” he told Deccan Chronicle.

    The Indian Army, too, would commence work on its Commando Training Centre (CTC), on a couple of hundred acres allotted as part of this 9,000 acre campus. With many key facilities coming up at Challakere, the government will ensure foolproof protection by armed commandos, said sources in the ministry of defence
     
  6. ni8mare

    ni8mare FULL MEMBER

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