Aatmanirbhar Bharat: Software Defined Radios for the Armed Forces to be made in India

Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar has stated that the indigenisation of the SDR technology is an important milestone which is important for achieving ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ in this field.

Aatmanirbhar Bharat: Software Defined Radios for the Armed Forces to be made in India

In an effort to fulfill the demand of the Indian Armed Forces across a broad spectrum of operations, the indigenisation of the Software Defined Radios (SDRs) will now be fast tracked. SDR is capable of multiple types of waveforms including wideband and narrowband applications.

How will the indigenisation of this critical instrument help the Armed Forces?

Once made in India, this indigenous technology will be available to be implemented by the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force. This SDR is used by the forces for transferring rates of voice, data, and video information.

How does it help?

“Troops on the ground that are carrying handheld portable SDR versions, will be able to integrate with higher echelons to achieve real C4I capability.

Now with the indigenised SDR technology, the possibility of Swarms of Drones operating in future battlefields seems a possibility,” explained a C4I expert to Financial Express Online.

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According to an official statement issued by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Tuesday, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are working together to indigenize the SDR.

In the statement issued by the Mod, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar has stated that the indigenisation of the SDR technology is an important milestone which is important for achieving ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ in this field.

The process of life cycle management is very important and is needed to protect and secure sensitive SDR technology and products. And this whole process involves indigenous development, manufacturing, design, testing/certification and maintenance ecosystem.

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Financial Express Online has reported earlier that the three services –Indian Army, Air Force and Navy have been working towards the development of a family of modular and interoperable SDRs versions – Manpack (SDR-MP) and SDR-HH (Hand Held), Airborne (SDR-AR), Naval Combat (SDR-NC), and Tactical (SDR-TAC).

Since last February, under Make-II category the Indian Army has been in the process of replacing the legacy radios with the indigenously developed V/UHF Manpack SDRs. In the coming years, the CNR for Armoured Fighting Vehicles (CNR-AFV) too shall be SDR based.

Two important elements of indigenous SDR technology are — Standardised Operating Software Environment (OE) and Applications (These are also known as waveforms) and are associated waveforms repository and test/certification facility.

According to the MoD, the Standard OE enables waveform portability and interoperability among multiple vendors of SDRs and a decision has been taken by the ministry to develop and define reference implementation of India specific operating environment. This is known as India Software Communication Architecture (SCA) profile.

The idea of having ‘India SCA Profile’ has been pioneered by Director, IIT Kanpur Dr Abhay Karandikar, who is the Chairman of SCA Committee under the MoD.

To help in fast tracking the indigenisation process a draft project report has already been prepared by DEAL/DRDO which clearly states the timelines and roadmap.

Who will steer the project?

For developing IRSA, the Directorate of Standardisation (DoS) in the Department of Defence Production will be involved. Industry, academia, and DRDO will help in three to six months. And additional months which will be used for testing, compliance certification tools as well as reference implementation.

Importance of IRSA

To be notified by DoS, it will help the Indian software vendors to integrate and make the SDRs security gradable and interoperable. And will be shared with the industry for the development of the SDRs which will be used by the Indian Armed Forces and also be exported to friendly nations.

The three institutions involved in the development namely, DEAL/DRDO, IIT-Kanpur and DoS have already started the work as per DPR and it is expected to be completed in a time bound manner.

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