DRDO Technology Demonstration Vessel (TDV)
The 130-meter-long DRDO Technology Demonstration Vessel (TDV)) was built at a cost of Rs.425 crores by the Kochi-based Cochin Shipyard Ltd and was expected to be delivered by late 2019. Contract for this vessel was inked in early August 2015. The vessel was built to commercial standards specifications and is currently being fitted with ‘user-supplied equipment’. The TDV has been dubbed as Hi-Tech Vessel (and ship number 20). Dr.Y.Srinivasa Rao is the project director of 'Ship No. 20', he is scientist-G at Research Centre Imarath(RCI), DRDO, Hyderabad.
DRDO Technology Demonstration Vessel (TDV) was built by Cochin Shipyard Limited for the Defence Research and Development Organization at its shipyard located at Kochi, Kerala. The TDV was contracted to Cochin Shipyard Limited by DRDO on August 2015. This vessel has a length of 118.4 meter, 20 meter width and 7.1 meter draft and having a steel weight of approximately 3900 Tonne. The original contract for construction of the vessel was signed with Bharati Shipyard, but time overruns forced by the yard’s poor finances led to termination of the contract. Subsequently, the Cochin Shipyard won the bid to execute this project.
The ceremonial event of commencement of Mega Block Assembly of hull blocks of Ship No.20, the Technology Demonstration Vessel, being built for the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) of Government of India was held on 27 Jan 2016 at CSL. This is a major milestone in the construction of the ship. Dr S Christopher, Chairman, DRDO and Secretary, Department of Defence R&D, Chief Guest of the function, did the honours. Dr. Christopher, while addressing the gathering appreciated CSL for successfully undertaking construction of such a complex ship. They believed in the capabilities of CSL while awarding contract for this complex vessel. It is now paying off. He said. The ship with a length of 118.4 meter, 20 meter width and 7.1 meter draft and having a steel weight of approximately 3900 Tonne was contracted in August 2015.
Shri Madhu S Nair, Chairman & Managing Director, Cochin Shipyard, in his welcome speech highlighted on the importance of this vessel for both DRDO and CSL. The Technology Demonstration Vessel has actually turned out to be a Capability Demonstration Vessel. He also said that the construction of the ship would be an opportunity to CSL to prove its capability in construction of hi-tech niche vessels. The ceremony was also attended by Dr Subhash Chandra Sati, DG (NS&M), Dr (Ms) J Manjula, DG (ECS), Shri U Raja Babu Programme Director (PGAD), Dr Y Sreenivas Rao, Project Director (PGAD) and other senior scientists from DRDO. Shri Paul Ranjan, Director (Finance), Shri Sunny Thomas, Director (Technical) and Shri N V Suresh Babu, Director (Operations), senior officials, and other employees of CSL also attended the function. The initial milestone event of steel plate cutting was held on 10 Aug 2016.
The mission and capabilities of this ship have been a bit of a puzzle. According to some accounts, once ready, this missile range instrumentation ship [MRIS] ship would be equipped with a smaller version of the multi-object tracking radar [MOTR], known as the M-MOTR, as well as X-band active phased-array precision-tracking radar. The MOTR will track different stages of launch vehicles simultaneously during nominal and non-nominal missions. The tracking data will be used for computing the Instantaneous Impact Points (IIPs) of the descending/separated objects of the launch vehicle, more accurately. This MRIS would be used for monitoring the flight trajectories of long-range subsonic and supersonic land-attack cruise missiles, especially during their terminal phases of flight. The MRIS vessels are said not for intelliogence gathering since their on-board sensors are all RF-emitting. Intelligence-gathering vessels would not emit anything, as they have only all-passive listening sensors to soak in the RF emissions of interest. But thisis not the caser, as the USA had a number of radar tracking ships monitoring the DPRK and China. The ship reportedly would have an array of sensors and radars to track flight of under-development long-range missiles during their test-firing. One of the major missile development program ongoing in India is that of the K-4 intermediate-range submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) with an operational range of around 3,500 km.
But the ship doesn't appear to be a missile tracking vessel at first glance. There are no large radars in evidence, and not even much a a place to emplace such radars at a later stage of construction There is a large crane (A-Frame) at the stern of the ship, indicating the TDV could be a variable depth sonar tested. It could be used to deploy undersea cables or sonar stations, underwater autonomous vessel testing, or other oceanographic and marine science investigations. The TDV appears to be a complement to or replacement for the 1990 vintage A74 Sagardhwani Class marine acoustic research ship.
|Name||Technology Demonstration Vessel (TDV)|
|Builders||Cochin Shipyard Limited, Kochi, India|
|Type||Oceanographic Research ship [AGS]|
|Length||118.4 m (388 ft 5 in)|
|Beam||20 m (65 ft 7 in)|
|Draft||7.1 m (23 ft 4 in)|
|Sensors and processing systems||Unknown|
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