The 'On-Board Oxygen Generation System' developed for the Tejas can produce 1,000 litres of oxygen every minute, reports Ajai Shukla.
In an innovative example of sophisticated defence technology being directly adapted to combat the pandemic, the 'On-Board Oxygen Generation System' (OBOGS) developed for the Tejas light combat aircraft has been translated into a civilian-use oxygen generation plant that can produce 1,000 litres of oxygen every minute.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was briefed on Tuesday on this innovation by the Defence Research and Development Organisation. The technology has been transferred to private industry and the Uttar Pradesh government has already placed an order for five such plants, according to a ministry of defence statement.
DRDO Chairman Satheesh Reddy informed the defence ministry that more plants can be supplied to cater to the burgeoning hospital requirements.
The defence minister, in an unusual emergency move, suggested that the military 'utilise the services of vaccinated retired armed forces personnel to assist the civil administration /state governments to deal with the current situation', the ministry stated.
Reddy offered that a supplemental oxygen delivery system that the DRDO had developed for soldiers posted at extreme high-altitude areas could be used for COVID-19 patients as their medical conditions were similar in both cases.
The DRDO expects the product, which is based on SpO2 (Blood Oxygen Saturation), to be available in the market soon.
Reddy also informed Rajnath Singh that DRDO has restarted a COVID-19 facility in New Delhi and efforts are being made to soon double the number of beds from 250 to 500.
Reddy said the Employees State Insurance Corporation Hospital in Patna had been converted to a COVID-19 hospital and it had started functioning with 500 beds.
The DRDO chief said his organisation was working 'on a war footing' to operationalise a 450-bed hospital in Lucknow, a 750-bed hospital in Varanasi and a 900-bed hospital in Ahmedabad.
Singh held the virtual meeting to review the readiness of the defence ministry and the military to deal with the sharp spike in COVID-19 cases across the country. He urged defence establishments, including defence public sector undertakings, the ordnance factory board and the DRDO to 'work on war footing to provide oxygen cylinders and extra beds to civil administration/state governments at the earliest'.
He called upon the three services to be in close contact with state governments and to be ready to provide assistance. Singh has also delegated to the military emergency powers of procurement for critical needs.