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|August 17, 1998||
Balasore missile range being upgraded
The Interim Test Range at Balasore in Orissa, from where most of the missiles under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme have been test fired, is being upgraded to the level of a world class range facility, defence ministry sources said today.
The range, established in 1989, is being upgraded to meet the urgent requirements of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, which allegedly wishes to develop airborne weapon systems to be delivered by the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft.
''The ITR is gearing up to test the airborne weapons systems being developed by the DRDO with the help of existing and planned state-of-the-art instrumentation,'' one defence ministry official said. He added that the major thrust was on tracking long-range missiles, air defence missile systems, weapons systems delivered by the LCA, multi-target weapon systems and high G manoeuvrable missiles.
The ITR was established as a dedicated range for launching missiles, rockets and flight test vehicles.
A number of test vehicles of different class including multi-role missile Trishul, multi-target capability missile Akash, the antitank Nag missile, the most precise surface-to-surface missile and the large-scale technology demonstrator Agni have been test fired from the ITR.
With its versatile technical and scientific capability, the ITR has also supported a number of other missions such as multi-barrel rocket launcher, Pinaka, and pilotless target aircraft Lakshya.
The ITR's range is spread over a length of 17 km along the sea coast where a number of tracking instruments have been deployed to cover the total flight path of the test vehicles.
Some of the significant test facilities at the ITR are: a mobile and fixed electro-optical tracking system, mobile S-band tracking radar, fixed C-band tracking radar, fixed and mobile telemetry system, range computer, photo processing system, meteorological system and range safety systems.
The efforts are also on to develop an expert system for aiding safety decisions during launch. ''The ITR is slowly but surely leading into a world class range facility,'' the sources said.
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