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DRDO & NSTL has earlier tested the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)

Four key underwater sensor systems, including a distress-alert system that will enable swift rescue of submariners in case of an eventuality, designed and developed by the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), the only Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory in Kerala, will be delivered to the Navy on Friday.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will hand over the systems to Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff, at DRDO Bhavan.

A graphic representation, sourced from DRDO, shows deployment of the four sonar systems of NPOL on naval ships and submarines. One of them is a distress alert sonar system for Sindhughosh-class submarines

The NPOL, which has over the decades raised the indigenous quotient of underwater sensor systems in use on Indian warships, is set to deliver Abhay, a compact hull-mounted sonar for use on shallow water crafts and smaller vessels; HUMSA-UG, which is an upgraded variant of its most successful hull-mounted sonar array system; NACS, a near-field acoustic characterisation system; and AIDSS, an advanced indigenous distress alert sonar system for submarines. Nine of the submarine distress alert systems will be installed on the Navy’s Kilo-class (Sindhughosh-class) submarines.

A spokesperson of the laboratory said the latest set of systems further underscored the commendable performance of the naval cluster of the DRDO, especially the Thrikkakara-based laboratory whose sensors are deployed on surface vessels and submarines operated by the Indian Navy.

“Abhay — an active-cum-passive integrated sonar system designed and developed for smaller platforms such as shallow water crafts and patrol vessels for coastal surveillance — will be deployed on three Abhay-class corvettes in operation with the Navy to start with. Its export variant, HMS-X2, has also been cleared for export,” said the spokesperson.

The Abhay sonar is capable of detecting, localising, classifying and tracking sub-surface and surface targets in both its active and passive modes of operation. A prototype of the system, installed on a naval platform, has successfully completed all user evaluation trials as stipulated by the Naval Staff Qualification Requirements.

While the new-generation HUMSA is already in operation on vessels of various classes in the Navy, its upgraded version, HUMSA-UG with state of the art open architecture processor technologies, will be installed on seven naval ships across three classes.

The NACS is a health monitoring system that will be used to determine the in-situ performance of the sonars. “It will be used to find the frequency-dependent 3-D transmission and reception characteristics of the sonar. The NACS has been integrated with a previous variant of the HUMSA sonar, the HUMSA-NG, and proven on board warships. It will be fitted across platforms now.

The last is an emergency sound-signalling device that will speed up submarine rescue and salvage by indicating that its in distress. “It is a life-saving alarm system designed to transmit sonar signals of a pre-designated frequency and pulse shape in an emergency situation from a submarine for a long period, so as to attract the attention of passive sonars of ships, nearby submarines and all types of standard rescue vessels.


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