BHUBANESWAR: Sparing no efforts to protect their arsenal from Fani, the Defence Research and Development Organisation on Thursday geared up to protect its test facilities at Chandipur and Abdul Kalam Island which are likely to be affected by the cyclone.
The Integrated Test Range (ITR) of DRDO has three missile launch pads at Chandipur and one launch complex at Kalam Island, besides two separate mission control rooms and block houses.Since the Island is located nearly 10 km from the coast, the impact of the cyclone is more likely on the test facility which is known for its strategic location for test-launching of all long range missiles.
The test facility houses a missile control room, assembly building, block house and missile launching complex. The control room and block house, however, have been designed to withstand wind up to 400 km. Director of ITR Binay Kumar Das said all critical facilities are being maintained while non-critical equipment are shut down. A disaster management committee has been formed and quick reaction system is deployed, he said.
As precautionary measures, plying of boats to the Island have been stopped and speed boats kept out of water. All antennas and other tracking systems are lowered and secured while the critical systems are anchored. “Missions have been completed and teams departed. Apart from security and logistic staff, all other staff and employees have been asked to vacate the Island and return to shore. It is a period when there is security threats. So we can not compromise our security, which is being monitored and all precautions are taken,” Das said.
The ITR has a Doppler radar at Chandipur and it is tracking the cyclone throughout the day. Steps are being taken as per the information made available. High rises like antennas at both the test facilities have been dismantled and secured inside the block house. While control rooms have been set up at Island mainland and Chandipur, ambulance and fire tenders are in readiness.
Kalam Island, which is about two km in length and 390 acre in area, is already experiencing changing sand pattern and around 300 metre of sand area have been submerged over the last few years. “All precautionary measures have been taken to thwart the possible impact. If the sea surge is above seven metre it will affect the Island topography. The quadro spots at the facility will break the wave of four to five metre high,” Das added.