The Indian Army (IA) is also set to acquire six more Indigenous Swathi Weapon-Locating Radar (WLR). The decision to acquire the Swathi WLR comes at the time of increased border tensions with China.
According to sources, the case for acquisition of six Swathi WLR worth over ₹ 400 crores is scheduled to be taken up in a defence ministry meeting today. The WLR is developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and built by Bharat Electronics Limited.
The purchases of the Swathi WLR will also provide a boost to the Make in India mission of the Indian government. Recently, the Indian government imposed an import embargo on 101 defence equipment in a bid to reduce India’s reliance on foreign military equipment and at the same time boost research and development of indigenous military equipment.
The Indian Army has been using the radars for its operations along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. The system was given for trial to Army in 2018.
According to experts, the tried and tested Swathi WLR will also be a great addition in case of war with China. The Swathi WLR will help the Indian Army to know the exact location of artillery guns fired by China.
The Swathi weapon-locating radars will provide fast, automatic and accurate location of enemy weapons like mortars, shells and rockets in 50-kilometre range. The radar can simultaneously detect multiple projectiles fired from different weapons at different locations.
Swathi Weapon-Locating Radar
A WLR is designed to detect the trajectory of an artillery shell. Using the detected path, one can narrow down on an enemy artillery firebase, and direct return fire to successfully destroy it.
At a given position, the radar can scan for targets in one quadrant, encompassing a 90° sector. The array can electronically scan up to +/-45° from its mean bearing. Additionally, for 360° coverage from a given position, the whole array can be rotated by 135° on either side within 30 seconds to quickly change the scanning sector in response to threats.
The WLR is configured on a wheeled Tatra 8×8 truck platform. The trucks are manufactured by Bharat Earth Movers Limited in India under license. The WLRS is designed to operate in a high-density fire environment and has an all-weather capability, high mobility and quick reaction time.
The system is a two-vehicle configuration, with the primary sensor, processors, displays and control unit on a single vehicle, and a separate power vehicle to power the radar. The radar data can also be displayed remotely.
The Radar is designed to operate in harsh environments ranging from -20 to +55°C, in hot and humid conditions, and can be safely stored from -40 to +70°C. It can operate at high altitudes up to 16,000 feet (4,900 m).
Shock and vibration performance and resistance to electromagnetic interference (EMI)/electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) are according to international military standards. The WLR is designed for quick deployment and decamp, and can be ready for action within 30 minutes. In case of any incoming threats, the radar can be quickly moved out of the threat area.
The WLR has also proved to be popular abroad. In March 2020, India and Armenia signed a deal for the sale of four Swathi (WLR) stations. This deal, worth $40 million was the first of its kind with Armenia and stands out because vendors from Russia and Poland were also in the running.