INDIAN ARMY ON A GLOBAL HUNT FOR SOUND RANGING SYSTEMS
By Bulbul Singh
07 Mar 08. After successful operations with sound ranging systems in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Indian army has decided to procure unspecified numbers of Sound Ranging Systems from overseas. Currently the Indian army is using only U.S. weapon locating radars.
The Indian Army currently operates the U.S. Firefinder weapon locating radar purchased in 2002 from the United States. The Indian Army suffered casualties in the Kargil battle of 1999 as it did not have artillery locating radar, and the Pakistani artillery guns firing shells fired from across the border went undetected taking toll on the Indian army troops fighting in the Kargil heights.
The Indian Army has opted for purchasing Sound Ranging Systems (SRS) as they are less expensive and more mobile. A Global tender has been sent to overseas defence majors for direct purchase and license production of the Sound Ranging Systems for the Indian Army.
The SRS will be employed to locate enemy artillery by Acoustic means and will be authorized to the Surveillance and Target Acquisition (SATA) Units. Its function will be to locate the source of sound generated by gun fire and to carry out adjustment of own Artillery fire by means of Sound Adjustment methods in plains and desert terrains.
It should locate Artillery shell bursts up to a minimum distance of 12 kilometers, mortars at 10 kilometers, Field Guns at 15 kilometers and Medium Guns at 20 kilometers.
The SRS is based on a cluster of microphones so that each cluster can provide independent bearing to the source of sound. This will also enable the SRS to cope with high activity levels. The SRS Command Post (CP) will constitute the second tier of central processing which will permit effective functioning even in periods of high and simultaneous activity. The SRS will have minimum of eight clusters of at least three microphone sensor units each covering a base length of minimum 15 kilometers and should have a microprocessor based command post (CP) unit.
The Sensor Unit will have a minimum of three microphones, a cluster processor, met sensors and radio link with facility to regulate the power output from Sensor Post to Command Post.
The three microphones will be employed at each sensor post and will be connected by line to the Cluster Processor Unit. A central power supply is required to power the microphones, cluster processor and radio set with back-up battery recharge facility.
The Cluster Processor should be based on a microprocessor which will take signals from the microphones using special digital signal processing techniques to analyze these for the acoustics of the source of sound. Once the Hostile Battery or Mortar is determined, the information will be automatically transmitted over the digital data link to the Central Processor at the Command Post. The Cluster processor will be updated automatically.
Giving details of the Systems being procured, an Indian army official said the Command Post (CP) will have a central microprocessor unit (CMU)with a rugged high resolution colour monitor with keyboard, mouse and printer. The CMU will control a minimum of one set of 8 cluster units at one time and receive data from the cluster processor, calculate the locations of mortars, shell bursts, etc. and display/store/transmit the results in a given time-frame.
The other essential conditions of the SRS specify that the system should be designed to have minimum of controls and accessories and enable operation of the system for a longer duration without any operator strain. It should be rugged enough to sustain field conditions and be Electro Magnetic Interference/ Electro Magnetic Compatibility (EMI/EMC) compatible. It should be modular in design for speedy repairs and facilitate Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) and low Mean Time Taken to Repairs (MTTR).