It will be India’s eye in the sky which will be the star attraction at this year’s Aero India, the bi-annual event to be held at the Air Force Station Yelahanka between February 9 and February 13.
The indigenously-developed aerostat will not only make its debut but will also keep a tight aerial vigil on the activities on the ground.
Touted to be one of the major attractions during the air show, the Akashdeep aerostat which was recently developed by the Agra-based Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory, Aerial Delivery Research & Development Establishment (ADRDE), will be brought to the show where it will also carry out ‘operational duties’ besides being exhibited.
DRDO’s chief controller, research and development (Aerospace& Services Interaction) Prahlada told DNA that the Akashdeep will be equipped with all its platforms and payloads to carry out anti-terror and security aerial surveillance during the air show.
“We want to showcase the aerostat to the participating countries. It will not be a mere balloon-like object during the show; it will be operational,” Prahlada said.
The aerostat is capable of carrying electro-optic and Comint (communication and intelligence) payloads for surveillance; and according to DRDO scientists, the complete balloon systems, ground-based command and control systems, and payloads of the aerostat have already been integrated for optimal use.
Its gimbals, with 360-degree azimuth freedom and high degree in elevation is highly stabilised to carry out steering, scanning and tracking with high precision.
Besides, its payload also carries thermal camera for surveillance during night and in low visibility conditions.
This apart, it also has an electronic intelligence payload which carries a communication intelligence system for capturing and analysing all types of communications in air.
Prahlada added that the aerostat will be showcased to the visitors on all days of the air show. However, during the flight displays, the aerostat will be lowered so as to not interfere with the flight paths of the aircraft.