Friday, September 04, 2020

Shooting, Spotting & Blinding Lasers Protected India's Prime Minister On August 15, 2020

Optical Target Locater 600 - OTL 600 - LASTEC - 01

The, otherwise, humdrum, annual Independence Day proceedings, this year, provided glimpses of technological advances made in India's tactical domain.  Emerging from the shadows, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent address from the Red Fort, were a bunch of indigenous Laser-based security systems.

DRDO Anti-Drone System - India - 01
Widely reported was the anti-Drone technology, deployed to detect & disable unauthorised Unmanned Aerial Vehicle [UAV]. As per news reports, "the anti-drone system can detect and jam micro drones up to three kilometres and use laser to bring down a target up to 2.5 kilometres".

The September 2020 issue of DRDO's Newsletter lets us in on the field deployment of, at least, two additional Laser-based systems. It's Laser Science & Technology Centre [LASTEC] has spearheaded both undertakings.

Optical Target Locater 600 - OTL 600 - LASTEC - 04

The Optical Target Locater 600 [OTL 600] can scan for & detect devices such as Binoculars, Night Vision Devices [NVD], cameras, Range Finders etc, over a distance of 600 m. An adversarial entity would, typically, use these accessories towards causing disruption.\

Utilising a Short Wave Infra-Red [SWIR] Laser source, it operates on the principle of Cat’s Eye effect. Any system using Lenses - Concave, Convex, Meniscus-type, would reflect diffused energy back to the source. Computing the nature of the returned energy - intensity, angle of incidence etc, the system can zero-in on the location of the device.

Essentially, the OTL shines a beam of Laser towards the area under observation. If any device having an optical lens comes in it's path, part of the back-scattered, retro-reflected beam comes back to the OTL. Signal Processors & Algorithms, then, compute the incident rays to zero-in on the target's location. The tripod-mounted OTL 600 would be in use with the Special Protection Group [SPG], responsible for the Prime Minister's proximate security.

Optical Target Locater 1500 - OTL 1500 - LASTEC - 01

A bigger, larger-range device, the OTL 1500, the Indian Army uses, to detect threats over a distance of 1500 m. These threats could include adversary Snipers, using scopes to identify it's target. A shorter range OTL 300, is known to be in service with the Delhi Police force & the National Security Guard [NSG], India's crack counter-terror Unit.

Laser Dazzlers - LASTEC - DRDO - 01
Laser Dazzlers were yet another system protecting the PM at the Red Fort. As noted in it's Technology Focus journal of 2015,

"Laser dazzler which transmits a laser beam in visible spectrum temporarily impairs or disorients the aggressors in a completely non-lethal manner.

Laser dazzlers are non-lethal weapons specifically designed for applications where subject vision impairment must be achieved at specified distance in all ambient conditions including clear sunny day, twilight and night. Laser dazzlers can be configured for variety of configurations from hand held to weapon mountable to vehicle mountable."

Efforts are underway to develop Dazzlers having range excess of 10,000 m, that would not suffer attenuation effects associated with that distance. It's capability, upon realisation, would be similar to the Lockheed Martin High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance [HELIOS] system, planned to be integrated with the US Naval Warship, the Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer, USS Preble, by 2021. Ambitious goals, LASTEC set.

Optical Target Locater 600 - OTL 600 - LASTEC - Target Classification - 01

What was earlier within the realms of Star War/Trek-type fantasy, Directed Energy Weapon [DEW] using High Power Laser [HPL] or High Power Microwaves [HPM] are set to acquire a more prominent, widespread role in future military campaigns. Indian efforts towards self-sufficiency in this gained prominence with the knowledge of KALI appearing in the public domain. Shipborne DEW Counter-Measures [CM], using Deuterium Fluoride [DF] Chemical Lasers, as Close In Weapon Systems [CIWS] for protection against Anti-Ship Missiles is also on the anvil.

ADITYA - Gas Dynamic Laser - LASTEC - DRDO - 02
LASTEC had developed a test-bed involving Toluene-Air Combusting Gas Dynamic Laser [GDL], christened Aditya, that can generate a power output of 100 kW, capable of neutralising threats at distance of 800 m. Nominal performance. A practical HPL DEW is expected to generate at least 500-600 kW of power, neutralising targets at stand-off range. India has quite a long way to go before achieving it's DEW competency.
LASER-Based Security Technology - India - 01
Nation States with proven deployable DEW technology would hold the sway in tilting the International Power balance in it's favour.
Optical Target Locater 600 - OTL 600 - LASTEC - 01

Also Read: Some Updates On The Pralay Missile Development - A Prahar Variant?