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New DRDO test range becomes operational

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A file photo of a DRDO tableau.
A file photo of a DRDO tableau.

Our Bureau

Bangalore, Dec. 16

The country's new Aeronautical Test Range at Chitradurga got off the mark on Wednesday with fighter plane Tejas dropping practice bombs on a target, defence research establishment DRDO has said.

DRDO had stopped testing activities at the old air-to-ground range at Kolar a couple of years back as it was in the way of commercial air traffic of the new Bangalore international airport at Devanahalli.

Its replacement, the Aeronautical Test Range at Chellakere near Chitradurga, is partially ready. The facility will be used by all developers of aeronautical systems in the country, such as unmanned air vehicles and electronic warfare systems.

A major milestone

Describing it as a proud moment for the scientific community, a DRDO release citing the organisation's Chief Controller R&D (Aerospace), Dr Prahlada, said, “The Challakere DRDO Test Range became operational with the first ever bomb testing experiments of LCA, though total infrastructure and other logistic facilities are yet to be completed; financial support in full form is also awaited.” The successful tests signified a major milestone in aeronautical developments in the country, he said.

“While work is going on to set up the facility under the guidance of the Aeronautical Development Establishment, the National Flight Test Centre (under ADA) activated the air-to-ground range for the ongoing weapon and drop tank jettison trials of Tejas PV2,” he said.

Tejas is an indigenous light combat aircraft and its second prototype, PV2, is undergoing flight tests before it gets operational certification shortly.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 17, 2010)
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