Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on Tuesday said it has signed a contract with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for co-development and co-production of long range dual band Infra-Red Search and Track System (IRST) for Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighter jets.
The contract was signed under the MAKE-II procedure of Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020, as part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
“The proposed IRST system will be a high-end strategic technology product in the field of defence avionics and technically competitive to existing IRST system in the global market with features of Television Day Camera, Infrared & LASER sensors in single window for air-to-air and air-to-ground target tracking and localisation,” HAL said in a release.
The system will enhance the Indian Air Force’s air superiority, it said.
The coming together of two defence PSUs for development of technologically critical IRST gives impetus to ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ in the defence sector, the release stated.
This initiative also opens a future path in the field of indigenous defence manufacturing for development of high-end strategic technology products of IRST for various platforms in a global competitive environment, HAL added.
An infrared search and track (IRST) system (sometimes known as infrared sighting and tracking) is a method for detecting and tracking objects which give off infrared radiation (see Infrared signature) such as jet aircraft and helicopters.
IRST is a generalized case of forward looking infrared (FLIR), i.e. from forward-looking to all-round situation awareness. Such systems are passive (thermographic camera), meaning they do not give out any radiation of their own, unlike radar. This gives them the advantage that they are difficult to detect.
The OLS-36Sh-01I currently used in the Su-30MKI and the Su-30MKM. It incorporates a scanning thermal detector, laser rangefinder and integrated system monitoring.
OLS-36 laser-optical Infra-red search and track includes a day and night FLIR capability and is used in conjunction with the helmet mounted sighting system. The OLS-30 is a combined IRST/LR device using a cooled, broad waveband sensor. Detection range is up to 90 km, while the laser ranger is effective to 3.5 km. Targets are displayed on the same LCD display as the radar.
But now India has decided to design and develop a long-range dual-band infrared imaging search and track system (IRST) which will strengthen the capabilities of the Su-30MKI in detecting ultra-stealthy aircraft like the F-22, F-35.