Defence Research and Development Organisation3system design and integration of these upgrades, which combine indigenously developed systems along withimported ones. DRDO contributed subsystems like the Tarang radar warning receiver, Tempest jammer, coreavionics computers, brake parachutes, cockpit instrumentation and displays.
The DRDO's avionics program has been a success story with its mission computers, radar warning receivers, highaccuracy direction finding pods, airborne jammers and flight instrumentation in use across a wide variety of IndianAir Force aircraft. The organization began developing these various items for its upgrades, and for the LCA project.Variants were then developed for other aircraft. The lead designer in several of these efforts has been DARE, or theDefence Avionics Research Establishment, DRDO's designated mission avionics laboratory. Other laboratories havealso chipped in, from the radar specialist LRDE, to electronic warfare focused DEAL to the ADE, which developsUAVs and flight control systems.
LCA uses DRDO developed avionics
The DRDO is also co-developing more advanced avionics for the LightCombat Aircraft and the IAF's combat fleet. These include a range of powerful Open Architecture computers, better defensive avionicsincluding modern RWR's, self protection jammers, missile approachwarning systems and integrated defensive suites, optronics systems(such as infrared search and track systems) and navigational systemssuch as Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial navigational systems. Otheritems under development include digital map generators, helmetmounted displays and smart multifunctional displays.
Other Hindustan Aeronautics programs
Apart from the aforementioned upgrades, DRDO has also assisted Hindustan Aeronautics with its programs. Theseinclude the HAL Dhruv helicopter and the HAL HJT-36. Over a hundred LRU (Line Replaceable Unit)'s in theHJT-36 have come directly from the LCA program. Other duties have included assisting the Indian Air Force withindigenization of spares and equipment. These include both mandatory as well as other items.
Unmanned aerial vehicles
A scaled down model of the Rustom-1 MALE UAV
The DRDO has also developed two unmanned aerial vehicles- theNishant (
) tactical UAV and the Lakshya (
)Pilotless Target Aircraft (PTA).
The Lakshya PTA has beenordered by all three services for their gunnery target trainingrequirements. Efforts are on to develop the PTA further, with animproved all digital flight control system, and a better turbojetengine.
The Nishant is a hydraulically launched short rangedUAV for the tactical battle area. It is currently being evaluated bythe Indian Navy and the Indian Paramilitary forces as well.The DRDO is also going ahead with its plans to develop a newclass of UAVs. These draw upon the experience gained via theNishant program, and will be substantially more capable. Referred to by the HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance)and MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) designations.The MALE UAV has been tentatively named theRustom,
and will feature canards and carry a range of payloads, including optronic, radar, laser designators andESM. The UAV will have conventional landing and take off capability. The HALE UAV will have features such asSATCOM links, allowing it to be commanded beyond line of sight. Other tentative plans speak of converting theLCA into a UCAV (unmanned combat aerial vehicle), and weaponizing UAVs.