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Testing time for Indian radar

The weapon locating radar will be given to the Indian Army for evaluation by this month-end, reports Rahul Singh.

india Updated: Dec 18, 2006 06:27 IST

The indigenous weapon locating radar (WLR) will be offered to the Indian Army for evaluation by the end of this month, a senior defence ministry official told the Hindustan Times.

The radar has been designed to pick up the trajectory of an incoming artillery shell or rocket and locate the point of its origin. Artillery guns will make use of the data to destroy the hostile artillery systems within the space of a few seconds.

The need of a WLR was felt acutely during the Kargil conflict when Pakistani artillery lobbed shells over the mountains and caused heavy casualties on the Indian side.

The WLR, jointly developed by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), can also track and observe fall of shot from own weapons to provide fire correction.

The ability to locate enemy weapons from its first round and transmit the data of the acquired target to counter fire elements retaliatory strike is the key feature of the radar, an official said. The defence ministry has already issued a letter of intent for 28 WLRs to BEL.

The army currently relies on a Raytheon-made Firefinder WLR system to detect hostile artillery, supplied by the US under a foreign military sale (FMS) deal worth $146 million after the Kargil conflict. India placed a follow-on order for four more Firefinder radars later.

Raytheon’s ANTPQ-37 WLR system can detect guns firing from a distance of 28 to 32 kilometre. In contrast, the indigenous radar, with a "built-in test equipment system", can track guns and mortars firing at low and high angles and predict the launch point with accuracy up to a range of 15 km.

The army is expected to induct the WLR some time next year. The radar system will be mounted on Tatra vehicles capable of operating in all-terrain and all-weather conditions.

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First Published: Dec 18, 2006 06:27 IST