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   Vol . 8  No. 5 & 6  October/December 2000    

NAVAL TECHNOLOGIES

pic1.jpg (87816 bytes)The design and development of naval systems demands multidisciplinary approach as it encompasses a wide range of technologies. It also poses great challenge to scientists engaged in this field due to ever challenging technology scenario. It is therefore a constant endeavour for the scientists to develop state-of-the-art systems for the Navy. For developing countries, it is a path of struggle to overcome infrastructural limitations and denial of technology. The naval group of DRDO labs has fulfilled the self-reliance objective of the Navy to a great extent by developing state-of-the-art underwater sensors, weapons and materials.

From the Desk of Special Editor

das.jpg (2816 bytes)Ocean will be the futuristic battlefield, and its vast unexplored resource will be the cause of conflict. This is the battlefield of naval forces--highly complex, expensive and technology- intensive. The technology advancement worldover will always challenge the scientists engaged in R&D activities to keep pace with the everchanging requirements of the Navy. DRDO is continuously striving to meet the aspirations of the Navy and fulfill the self-reliance objective of the nation. Its contribution in the field of underwater sensors, weapons and materials to suit marine environment has been significant.

The origin of naval system technology can be traced back to the creation of the Indian Naval Physical Laboratory (INPL) at Cochin in March 1952. Its main role at that point of time was to support the fleet for analytical work. In October 1962, INPL was renamed as Naval Physical & Oceanography Laboratory (NPOL), and entrusted to undertake R&D work in the field of underwater sensors. In May 1952, Indian Naval Chemical & Metallurgical Laboratory (INCML) was established at Naval Dockyard, Bombay, to provide scientific support to fleet ships covering investigation in material failures, pre-interrogatory studies on futuristic materials, performance evaluation of materials and other related work. Subsequently, it was renamed as Naval Material Research Laboratory (NMRL), in 1995. The Naval Science & Technological Laboratory (NSTL) was established in August 1969 in Visakhapatnam to undertake research work in the field of underwater weapons. These three laboratories form the naval group of DRDO labs and are exclusively dedicated to R&D activities in the field of naval technology.

The development of complex naval equipment and systems is a continuous and multidisciplinary approach. This also involves collection and analysis of vast ocean data to study ocean behaviour and to design suitable underwater sensors and weapons.

The naval group of DRDO labs has developed many state-of-the-art underwater sensors, weapons and materials. In the field of underwater sensors, NPOL has made the Navy self-reliant by developing all types of sonars (hull-mounted, submarine, airborne and towed array), which are at par with the existing sonars of the advanced countries. In the field of underwater weapons, NSTL has indigenised a wide range of technologies and is going to equip the Navy with the most sophisticated torpedoes, mines and fire control systems. The contribution of NMRL in the field of naval materials is equally notable. The ICCP system and  various types of paints developed by this laboratory are extensively used in the Navy. NMRL is presently engaged in meeting the futuristic requirements by developing new materials to enhance the life span of naval platforms and to develop new energy source.

A unique practice adopted by the naval groups of DRDO labs brings in an excellent cooperation and understanding amongst users, laboratories and production agencies through a coordinating Directorate, the Directorate of Naval R&D, at DRDO Headquarters. The concept of concurrent engineering adopted by these laboratories has established a much needed cohesive relation with production agencies and has reduced production time.

The naval group of DRDO labs is continuously striving to explore new techniques and develop advanced systems for the Navy. In the years to come, the labs are going to strengthen the fighting capability of the Navy by equipping naval platforms with state-of-the-art indigenous equipment and systems.

Cmde BB Das
Director Naval R&D