A heavy truck stands next to an artillery gun getting ready to fire at enemy posts. An imported Doppler-based dome antenna communicates with a weather station 15 km above the earth. The air drift and temperature likely to affect the trajectory of the shell is recorded by the floating weather station and relayed to the truck. The data is used to position the gun before firing.
This battlefield situation has been made a lot easier by the students of IIT Bombay.
They have developed an indigenous system that could soon replace the imported system and do away with the bulky truck to reduce the entire set-up to the size of about two laptops,cutting the cost,and the space needed.
The system,developed under as an Army Technology Board (ATB) project was displayed at the College of Military Engineering (CME) on Wednesday.
Developed by a team of six IITians in 18 months,the prototype was tested on March 8 at Deolali. A few more tests are to be carried out.
The weather station is sent about 15 km above the earth with a balloon. It records weather parameters every second. This data is fed to the fire control system of the gun. The Indian Army has been using the system developed by a Finland company,but we have developed the system using off-the shelf components. This has helped us do away with the bulky truck which the original equipment incorporates, said Kavi Arya,associate professor,Department of Computer Science and Engineering,IIT-B.
As part of the ATB,technologies required by the Army are outsourced to various institutions such as IITs and their development is funded by the Army.
Explaining the IIT-B project,an Army official said,When an artillery shell is fired,the shell attains a vertical height during its trajectory. While the Air OP helps finalise the location of where the shell hits,the met station analyses the factors that can act upon it during the trajectory.
Prashant Rupapara,an MTech student at IITB,said,The Finland equipment uses a Doppler-based receiver block besides other components,whereas we have used GPS-based technology. We have integrated this with portable computers to make the whole set-up compact. We have thus achieved technological independence as well as cost effectiveness.