Unmanned robotic ground vehicles being developed (India)
T.S. Subramanian Infantry combat vehicles are being modified for the purpose
CHENNAI: Three types of unmanned robotic ground vehicles for detecting and clearing landmines, fencing the areas affected by nuclear, biological or chemical (NBC) warfare agents and watching the enemy territory at night are being developed by the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), Avadi, near here.
The existing infantry combat vehicle (BMP-II version), which weighs about 14 tonnes, is being modified for the purpose. It will be remote-controlled from a base station.
CVRDE director S. Sundaresh said: "They will be on the road in the later part of 2009. They will be equipped with high-power lasers, sensors and have the global positioning system. Our ultimate aim is to develop an unmanned combat vehicle."
Normally, manned vehicles travel into areas affected by the NBC warfare agents to demarcate such territories. The unmanned vehicle can navigate obstacles, travel to different terrains affected by the NBC warfare agents and mark such areas with pickets.
Mr. Sundaresh said: "It will have a five-metre tall mast with sensors. A camera will take high-resolution pictures of the enemy territory and send the pictures by radio links to the base-station so that the Army commander will know the enemy's strengths and weaknesses," he said.
This vehicle will have a self-destruct capability, if captured. It will destroy itself after cleaning up its electronics. "This is one of the exciting areas we are working on," he pointed out.
The base station that will control the three types of vehicles will be located about five km away. The range can be extended up to 15 km.
"The size of the vehicle is not a critical factor in NBC reconnaissance or clearing landmines. It can go close to the enemy area and take pictures," the CVRDE director said.
As they will be tracked vehicles, they can boast of cross-country mobility. They can traverse different types of terrain.
"The electronics will be soon integrated into these vehicles," said Mr. Sundaresh.
The CVRDE, a unit of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), had designed and developed Arjun, India's main battle tank.
Von: 17.12.2008, www.hindu.com