India to manufacture Software Defined Radios for Armed Forces

  • The concept of an “Indian SCA Profile” was pioneered by Dr. Abhay Karandikar, Director of IIT Kanpur and Chairman of the MoD SCA Committee.
  • The Directorate of Standardization (DoS) of the Department of Defense Production will be involved in the development of the IRSA.

The indigenization of Software Defined Radios (SDRs) will now be accelerated to meet the demand of the Indian Armed Forces in a wide range of operations. The SDR can handle a variety of waveforms, including wideband and narrowband applications.

How will the indigenization of this essential instrument help the armed forces?

Once developed in India, this indigenous technology can be used by the Indian army and air force. Forces use this SDR to transfer voice, data, and video information at high data rates.

How does this help?

“Ground troops carrying man-portable SDR versions will be able to integrate into higher echelons to achieve true C4I capability.”

“With indigenized SDR technology, the possibility of drone swarms operating on future battlefields appears to be a possibility,” a C4I expert told Financial Express Online.

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur and the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) are collaborating to indigenize the SDR, according to an official statement released by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Tuesday.

Defense Secretary Dr. Ajay Kumar said in a statement released by the Mod that the indigenization of SDR technology is an important step towards realizing ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ in this field.

The lifecycle management process is essential to protect and secure sensitive SDR technology and products. And the whole process involves an ecosystem of indigenous development, manufacturing, design, testing/certification and maintenance.

According to Financial Express Online, the three services – Indian Army, Air Force and Navy – have been working on the development of a family of modular and interoperable SDR versions – Manpack (SDR-MP) and SDR-HH (Hand Held), Airborne ( SDR-AR), Naval Combat (SDR-NC) and Tactical (SDR-TT) (SDR-TAC).

Since last February, the Indian Army replaced the old radios with locally developed SDR Manpack V/UHF in the Make-II category. The CNR for Armored Fighting Vehicles (CNR-AFV) will also be based on the SDR in the coming years.

The operating software (OE) environment and standardized applications (also known as waveforms) and their associated waveform repository and test/certification facility are two important components of native SDR technology.

According to the Ministry of Defense, the OE standard enables portability and interoperability of waveforms between multiple SDR vendors, and the ministry decided to develop and define reference implementations of the Indian operating environment . This profile is known as India Software Communication Architecture (SCA).

The concept of an “Indian SCA Profile” was pioneered by Dr. Abhay Karandikar, Director of IIT Kanpur and Chairman of the MoD SCA Committee.

DEAL/DRDO has already prepared a draft project report that clearly outlines timelines and roadmap to help expedite the indigenization process.

Who will lead the project?

The Directorate of Standardization (DoS) of the Department of Defense Production will be involved in the development of the IRSA. In three to six months, industry, academia and DRDO will help. And there will be additional months for testing, compliance certification tools, and reference implementation.

Significance of IRSA

Being notified by the DoS will help Indian software vendors integrate and make SDR security scalable and interoperable. And will be shared with industry to develop SDRs which will be used by Indian armed forces and exported to friendly countries.

The three institutions involved in the development, namely DEAL/DRDO, IIT-Kanpur and DoS, have already started working in accordance with the DPR, and it is expected to be completed on time.