The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) along with its various units and partner industries has come up with a series of combat and logistics solutions for the defence forces, including an amphibian vehicle capable of ferrying a 42-tonne battle tank as well as unmanned ground vehicles capable of detecting nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and for mine detection.
The amphibious system, which was displayed at the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on 26 January, is capable of moving on and off road and can serve as a 24-metre long and 3.6-metre wide floating bridge. The amphibian vehicle, which has a steel body, is capable of ferrying a 42-tonne main battle tank.
The amphibious system was developed jointly by DRDO and one of its exclusive development partners, TIL Ltd, which has been entrusted with the job. TIL has delivered two such units in a span of 18 months.
The system, developed indigenously, is capable of moving on and off road and can serve as a 24-metre long and 3.6-metre wide fully decked floating bridge within 9 minutes. The two-axle vehicle, during the DRDO technical trials, could achieve on-road speed of 50 kmph and 35 kmph cross-country.
Its twin pump jets allow the vehicle to move on water at a speed of 2.7 metre per second and let it manoeuvre – reverse, lateral and yawing. Two or more such vehicles can be joined to meet logistic challenges in war or disaster management situations.
The two units, conceived as ''technology demonstrators'', realised the status of prototypes after trials.
Meanwhile, DRDO's Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE) based at Avadi near Chennai, is all set to roll out two of the unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) for summer trials in the next two months.
The UGVs - Muntra-N designed for nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) reconnaissance and Muntra-M designed for mine detection missions - are currently undergoing lab level trials at Avadi ahead of the summer trials.
The DRDO had exhibited Muntra-S, meant for surveillance, during the DefExpo in 2012 and, according to DRDO scientists, the vehicle has successfully completed desert trials. ''Muntra'' stands for Mission Unmanned Tracked.
A drive-by-wire system enables control of the conventional UGV engine by electronic means. The tele-operation system enables the base vehicle operator to navigate the UGV with the help of opto-electronic sensors. Information about the obstacles and other features around the UGV is gathered by these sensors and this information is displayed at the base vehicle on ergonomically designed display systems.
The project, started with a seed money of Rs60 crore in 2007, has four vehicles, with three in the unmanned role and a fourth one in a manned mode (Muntra-B), doing the base control duties.