'Unmanned weapons future of warfare' - The New Indian Express

'Unmanned weapons future of warfare'

Published: 23rd August 2013 08:31 AM

Last Updated: 23rd August 2013 08:31 AM

DRDO chief  Avinash Chander stressed on the need for weapons, which would not show on radars, be unmanned and have protection against laser attacks with plasma-based surface coatings to either absorb or dissipate the laser attacks.

According to him, photosensitive structures at several places on these machines would lend them the colour of the environment for camouflage. He said the weight of a bulletproof jacket of  a soldier is about 12 kg and it needs to be lighter.

“Materials are the core of defense capability, “ said Avinash Chander. The Padmashree, who is also the scientific advisor to the Defence Minister of India, Secretary to the Department of Defence (R&D) was here to deliver the Brahm Prakash Memorial lecture on ‘Materials in Defense’.

The event was organised by the Indian Institute of Metals, Bangalore Chapter. Also present on the occasion were Professor K Chattopadhyay, the president of The Indian Institute of Metals and Chairman, Division of Mechanical Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. An alumnus of the IIT, Chander joined the DRDO after completing studies in the IIT. “Agni I, II and III missiles were developed under his (Chander) leadership,” said Prof Chattopadhyay.

Chander said the future will produce more challenges with high energy weapons, cyber warfare and warfare that is unmanned in space or underwater and technology intensive.

“To fight these future wars, the defense requirements are materials that can function in extreme environments like the ocean bed and can resist high temperature. “We need the sixth generation aircrafts with stealth capability, hypersonic speed, extra manoeuvrability to change shape- morph, fuel efficiency, heat and flame resistance. We need aerospace materials like Aluminium Lithium alloys which can perform the above roles. We need materials for aerostats that stay at altitudes of five kilometres for months,” he added.

He said defense research needs high energy fuel cells, solar Cells, biofuels, thermoelectric batteries and more to run these machines.

The immediate problems are shortage of rare elements and their processing methods. According to him, elements like Tungsten, Helium, Tantulum, Lithium, Nickel, Cobalt and high purity Boron used in making these weapons and machines are in short supply.

Chander said an integrated and national approach was needed to make the industry participate in the sourcing and designing of such materials, develop a skill force and certify materials and methods. “A national material initiative will accelerate innovation, manufacture and deployment of materials,” he said.

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