India's first indigenous composites sonar dome was flagged off at DefExpo 2016 by defence minister Manohar Parrikar yesterday. The sonar dome, which is functionally akin to a warship's eyes and ears, would be delivered to Mazagaon Docks in Mumbai.
The dome designed by a composites manufacturing company has been produced by a Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO) lab in Pune.
According to defence ministry officials, this was a huge contribution by Indian industry to the 'Make in India' initiative.
Only a couple of companies globally, possess the capability to build such structures.
All anti-submarine warfare (ASW) ships feature a sonar array fitted to the ship's structure below the waterline, which functions as the ship's underwater eyes and ears.
The sonar dome is fitted over the sonar array so that its electronics and sensors are shielded against the surrounding hostile environment. In addition to being structurally sound, it has to be acoustically transparent as well.
The sonar dome had been designed by Research and Development Establishment (Engineers), a DRDO laboratory based in Pune and manufactured by a composites manufacturing company Kineco, based in Goa.
This is the first indigenously built sonar dome at Kineco's state-of-the-art composites manufacturing facility at Pilerne, Goa. "Only a couple of companies in the world have the capability to realize such a complex and structurally demanding project in composites," said Kineco Limited, executive vice-chairman and managing director, Shekhar Sardessai.
Besides sonar domes, Kineco also makes airframe structures for India's strategic missile programmes. It is also in the process of developing lightweight carbon fibre bridge structure for military applications, Sardessai told media persons.