(NSI News Source Info) October 17, 2008: India is reportedly developing a new generation of UAVs designed to deploy laser target designators deep inside enemy territory."We are planning to base LTDs on UAVs to cut down the risk of our troops getting caught inside enemy territory while illuminating targets for attack and save the cost of sending another aircraft for doing the task," explained a senior Defence Ministry official. The new UAV project will be led by the DRDO, in partnership with the Army, Navy and the IAF. As IT Examiner previously reported, the crowded Indian defence market has led numerous officials to express concern over a perceived lack of indigenous self-reliance. To be sure, air chief marshall F M Major recently recommended that New Delhi reduce its dependency on aerospace imports by embarking on a "strategic shift [that] will offer the required thrust towards building skills and infrastructure for engineering and manufacturing."As such, the MoD has taken several notable steps to develop advanced military technology. For example, the Indian Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) is designing a number of unmanned infantry combat vehicles. According to CVRDE director S Sundaresh, Medak Plant workers are fitting Russian infantry combat vehicles with advanced robotic components at a cost of Rs 60 crore. Sundaresh also noted that the all-terrain vehicles would be utilised to detect mines, as well as nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. In addition, the DRDO has announced plans to develop missiles that are lighter and less costly than current indigenous models. An independent centre for composite testing and evaluation is being established at the Hyderabad-based Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) -- which was primarily responsible for designing the long-range Agni missile. Avinash Chander, Director of the Laboratory under DRDO, explained that the ASL already maintains a composites production centre (Comproc) responsible for the fabrication of lightweight missile material. However, Chander noted that the ASL wanted to make "all the stages of the Agni missile composite structured."
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