Alpha Design Is Developing Small satellites For Indian & Global Markets—Col H.S. Shankar
Alpha Design (ADTL) has marked its presence with critical technological development in defence. Alpha Design has success story based on its own R&D effort like the new Opto-electronic Tracker, upgrades to TIFCS for T-72 for other tank application and NAVIC Receiver with Indian GPS. Fact that ADTL is given the crucial task of upgrades for IAF's Mi-17 speaks much for the indigenous effort and policy thrust that a domestic private players can rise upto a tier 1 defence manufacture. Col. H.S. Shankar (Retd) Chairman & Managing Director, ADTL speaks with BW Businessworld’s Manish Kumar Jha on the futuristic technologies in defence and advance projects in space.
ADFCR developed by Alpha Design
Alpha Design has marked its presence with critical technological development in defence. Could you tell us the range of equipment/ new technologies that you have developed for Indian Armed Forces?
ADTL: Some of the technologies developed in the past five years by ADTL are – indigenous wave forms for software defined radios, opto-electronic tracker, upgrades to TIFCS for T-72 for other tank applications, NAVIC Receiver with Indian GPS, IFF Mk XII for various ground radars and airborne platforms, TR modules for VHF & other radars, and swarm drones and counter drones.
- Indigenous Wave forms for Software defined radios
- Opto-electronic Tracker
- Upgrades to TIFCS for T-72 for other tank application
- NAVIC Receiver with Indian GPS
- IFF Mk XII for various ground Radars and Airborne platforms
- TR Modules for VHF & Other Radars
- Swarm Drones and Counter Drones
Alpha Design is given the crucial task of upgrades for IAF's Mi-17. What are you working on? How will it add to Mi-17 capability?
The upgradation of earlier generation Mi-17 and Mi-17 1V (Qty 90 Nos) is progressing very well at No 3 BRD, Chandigarh.
These improvements including SMART Displays in cockpit will add to the Operational utilization of the helicopters, in addition to taking care of maintenance and repairs as quite a few items are manufactured indigenously.
You also planned to expand on launch vehicle. What is module and if you could share your futuristic advance project in this area?
ADTL: ADTL as part of Adani is taking part as a Consortium member (with BEL and BEML as other members) for Industry made PSLVs (5 No’s). There are two other Consortium Partners – L&T / HAL and BHEL. All appear to have been technically qualified. As and when commercial bids are opened, we shall know which Consortium wins. If we win, we shall put all efforts to successfully manufacture PSLVs.
Policy thrust is on Indigenization. Alpha Design has success story based on its own R&D effort. But challenges remain on developing capability due to the insufficient/ very low R&D budget marked by defence industry? What are the bottlenecks? What is that you looking from government in this regard?
ADTL: There are now, absolutely no bottlenecks. Sky is the limit for indigenisation / indigenously developed products, as part of Govt. of India’s well thought of “Atma Nirbhar” Program.
MOD’s DAP defines quite a few methods of giving importance to Indigenously developed R&D Products, such as MAKE 1, MAKE 2, IDEX etc. It is for industry to take lead.
Let's talk about Alpha Design in Space technology. You are the first private entity which has been given the task of developing complete satellite system. This is your biggest project in Space? How is it unfolding?
ADTL: Yes. 50+ young engineers / technicians have been working at ISRO for past 4 years who have provided us full facilities to completely Assemble / Integrate / Test (AIT) of medium and big satellites.
Our team has successfully carried out AIT of 1.35 ton Navigation Satellite (IRNSS 1(i)) which was launched 3 years back from Sriharikota through PSLV as part of 7 satellite constellation to provide Navigation info and Indian GPS inputs. Next was 3.5 ton huge Communication Satellite for which AIT was done by our team at ISRO. This was launched from French New Guinea launch pad 18 months back. Both are functioning very well.
Now our team is carrying our AIT for 850 Kg RISAT satellite due to be launched later this year. ADTL is also making big strides in development and manufacture of Small satellites for both Indian & global markets.
What is your collaboration with DRDO's laboratories. How do you test you equipment with DRDO?
ADTL: ADTL has large number of successful collaborations with various DRDO labs. For example, IFF with CABS, EW sub-systems with DLRL, Radars with LRDE, etc. There are no issues with respect to testing of our equipment’s with DRDO labs - they are made available to us at nominal costs.