The DRDO inaugurated an Extreme Altitude Research Centre at Chang La in Jammu and Kashmir at 17,600 ft above mean sea level, the world’s highest terrestrial R&D centre.
It has been established by Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR), Leh, a constituent establishment of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The centre, 75 km off Leh town towards Pangong lake, is poised to be the world’s highest terrestrial R&D centre in the cold desert of Ladakh, where the temperature goes as low as -40 degrees Celsius during extreme winter months coupled with reduced atmospheric pressure and humidity besides high wind velocity and UV radiation.
The centre was inaugurated by DRDO chief S Christopher, who highlighted its utility for Research & Development work in frontal areas of food and agriculture and bio-medical sciences for well being of the soldiers deployed in high-altitude cold desert.
He said that a large number of life sciences activities are proposed to be undertaken at this centre including human physiological work, long term conservation of plant genetic resources, designing, testing, validation and demonstration of mobile and portable greenhouses, soil-less micro-farming technologies for fresh food in remote landlocked posts besides conservation and propagation of endangered extreme altitude medicinal plants and others.
Defence R&D and DG (Life Sciences) Bhuvnesh Kumar said that new centre, besides undertaking life sciences activities, may provide unique opportunity to other labs and establishments of DRDO for testing and evaluation of electronics and communication devices, testing of materials for high altitude applications, batteries, fuel cells, UAV’s micro engines among others.