In the present electronic warfare scenario, where highly sophisticated, high
resolution, broadband and multi-spectral imaging systems in visible, infrared
and microwave have enhanced the lethality of all weapons systems, it has become
necessary to provide better training tools for firing accuracy and testing of
the weapons systems. To meet that goal DRDO has successfully developed the
technology of thermal targets.
By utilising especially designed thermal targets, as reference targets in place
of cost prohibitive real targets, the firing accuracy and efficiency of any
weapon system or equipment fitted with thermal imaging system can be verified
especially in the long ranges. The systems/equipment can then be fine tuned for
optimal performance in the sets of specified battlefield environmental
conditions. In addition, the most vital issues pertaining to the training of the
weapon operators for target identification in night-time using thermal sight can
also be addressed/tested.
These thermal targets provide high brightness index in the 3-5 µm and 8-14 µm
wavelength region, in which most of the thermal imaging systems operate. These
can be configured in any desired shape and size to generate 2-D and 3-D IR images.
These thermal targets have performed successfully in all user trials related to
MBT Arjun and Ajeya tanks. The night-time firing with thermal targets has been
found to be far more accurate than day-time firing.
The aiming-type thermal targets developed by DRDO are made up of pixels/panels
of variable size depending upon the user’s requirement. The pixels/panels
comprise five layers of different materials sprayed/coated/pasted over each
other. These panels are electrically heated by 12 V/120 AH batteries to obtain
the required radiance. The resistive film uniformly spread over the Formica
substrate, which in turn pasted over medium density fibre wood, is employed for
generating heat. The thick film resistive coating is deposited by thermal spray
process over Formica substrate. To avoid heat loss in backward direction, a
highly insulating silicate pad is affixed over the medium density fibre
substrate. To increase emission efficiency in forward direction, coating of a
especially designed highly emission paint is applied over the resistive film.
The topmost layer is a polymer coating transparent to IR in 8-14 µm, imparting
it the property of water resistance as well as scratch resistance.
The thermal targets can be used for accurate firing of antitank projectiles
during night, hot spot generation of desired emittance, practice firing of heat
seeking missiles (air-to-surface and surface-to-surface), field calibration of
gray scales for IR images in target detection, recogni-tion, identification and
ranging, and in thermal add-on devices.