The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Navy have conducted a successful maiden test trial for underground ammunition storage that would help the armed forces avoid sabotage and other infrastructure inconveniences if the facility were to be over the ground.

The indigenously designed and developed Air Droppable Container with 150-kg payload capacity (ADC-150) was successfully dropped from an IL 38SD aircraft off the coast of Goa on April 27, the Defence Ministry said on Tuesday.

“The trial was conducted to enhance naval operational logistics capabilities by providing a quick response to meet the requirement of critical engineering stores to ships (under distress), which are deployed more than 2,000 km from the coast,” said the Ministry. It reduces the requirement for ships to come close to the coast to collect spares and stores, the MoD explained.

The vertical shaft-based underground ammunition storage facility enables upward vertical dissipation of blast effects, considerably reducing its impact on surrounding utilities. The Centre of Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES), a Delhi-based laboratory of DRDO, designed and developed the vertical shaft.

The armed forces find it difficult to stock ammunition due to the non-availability of adequate land as large safety distances are required for ammunition storage structures. The safety distances considerably reduce when ammunition is stored underground. Based on the results of the instrumented trials, the safety distance has been established up to 120 metric tonnes (40 metric tonnes net explosive content) of ammunition storage per chamber, said the ministry.

The unique design developed has the additional advantage of reducing safety distances and costs by 50 per cent as compared to current designs, the ministry said. The design also ensures higher safety of ammunition stored from any kind of aerial attack or sabotage.

Three DRDO laboratories -- Naval Science & Technological Laboratory (NSTL), Visakhapatnam; Aerial Delivery Research & Development Establishment (ADRDE), Agra and Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bengaluru - were involved in the development of the ADC-150 container. The crucial flight clearance certification was given by the Regional Center for Military Airworthiness (RCMA), Kanpur, headed by the Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC), Bengaluru.