India would build two ranges for testing radar-based electronic warfare systems as it seeks to strengthen its capability in the field, seen to be vital in war scenarios.
One range would come up in Chitradurga in Karnataka and another in Tandur in Andhra Pradesh, which would test "non-communication" and "communication" EW systems, respectively, a key defence official said today.
These two would be part of the 4,000-acre aeronautical test range in Chitradurga, some 200 km from here, and the 8,000-acre one in Tandur, some 135 km from Hyderabad. At present, EW systems are tested in the IAF range in Gwalior in a limited way.
Once the two new testing ranges (in Chitradurga and Tandur) are operational in 2012-13, experimental and R&D tests can be conducted, said Prahlada, Chief Controller, R&D (Ae & SI), Defence Research and Development Organisation.
Speaking at the India National Electronic Warfare Workshop (EWWI-2010), he said an investment of Rs 200 crore each is expected in the two test ranges.
"Electronic Warfare is becoming a very important area because... You may have all weapons but if somebody jams you (the weapons), you are as good as useless. Before firing the missile, you are already decimated," he said.
"Without electronic warfare, you cannot win a war. Once you have it (EW capability), you have to test it, you can't wait for a war to test it," Prahlada said.
He said the present EW systems have been integrated with MiG-27 fighters and operational flights are slated next year. They would be integrated with MiG-29 fighters and the light combat aircraft next year.
In 2012, Prahlada said India would fly a fourth-generational EW system, which is being developed by Defence Avionics Research Establishment and Defence Electronics Research Laboratory.
He also said the flight-testing of the long-range surface-to-air missile, being jointly developed by India and Israel, would start next year. Ground-testing has just been completed.
Prahlada said DRDO was completely off the US entities list and it is a "big relief". Now US industries were free to do business with India, he said.
DRDO now can source raw materials, software packages, testing equipment, components and manufacturing process machinery, which was a difficult exercise when sanctions were in place.
During times of sanctions, it was also difficult to source such items from even countries such as UK and Germany because they were "aligned" with the US, resulting in some of the DRDO projects being delayed.
Prahlada also said DRDO was expecting a budget of Rs 9,000 crore in 2011-12 in the area of strategic systems and tactical defence.