By Rohit Srivastava
India is looking to equip its three services with modern state-of-the-art software-defined radios (SDR). After the failure to procure them in the previous attempt, the Indian Army has initiated a process to map industrial capacity in for this programme, sources informed. The combined requirement for the three services-Army, Navy, and Air Force is over 55,000 wherein army share is around 50,000 of these radios.
This time the tender is expected to come through the Make-II process of Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP). In earlier attempts, India tried purchasing through ‘Buy Global’.
“Indian industry has 90 per cent of the requisite technology to make SDRs. This is why the government is going for the Make-II procedure,” a source in industry said.
The requirement is the high frequency (HF), Ultra High Frequency (UHF) and Very High Frequency (VHF). Indian army’s Corp of Signals is the lead agency for the programme.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is expected to order around 5,000 SDR sets which would include both hands held and airborne (for aircraft) sets. Rest will go to Indian Navy.
SDR is considered very difficult to jam in comparison to older sets. It creates its waveforms through software algorithms which are very difficult to identify to jam. The system can also jump frequencies to avoid jamming/snooping. These are very effective in high altitude areas as well.
Sources suggest that three services will have different frequencies for their operations but few frequencies will be common to communication between three services.
Although the SDRs don’t have longer rang yet due to their safety feature countries are equipping their forces with it. The SDR required by India is expected to have around 3 km range.
In the previous tender, the budget for the army was in the range of INR 8,000 crore and INR 3,000 crore for IAF.