State-run aerospace firm Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on 1 May 2014 handed over a Dornier light-weight aircraft to the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). The aircraft named as Nabhrathna signifying a jewel in the sky.
This aircraft is equipped with indigenous synthetic Aperture Radar and state-of-the-art avionics and communication system.
The aircraft was designed to carry out testing of its under-development airborne radar systems. The aircraft will be used by Bangalore based Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) as flying test bed (FTB) for evaluation of performance of various radars being developed by LRDE.
HAL had signed the contract for Nabhratna Flying test bird aircraft in May 2013 and completed the project in May 2014, six months before schedule time of November 2014.
Significance of Nabhratna
Whenever LRDE needed to test any radar under development, they would approach Indian Navy or Indian Coast Guard for loan allotment of DO-228 aircraft for limited period. It was difficult to spare the aircraft because of operational needs resulting in delay in the development of radars. In view of this LRDE decided to procure one DO-228 aircraft on their own for testing of radar in air.
Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE)
LRDE is a premier DRDO lab known for design, development and leading to production wide spectrum of indigenous radars.
The Electronics & Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) was established in Rawalpindi in 1939. In 1946, the Scientific Stores was renamed as the Technical Development Establishment (TDE) and relocated to Dehradun.
In 1958, the TDE was reorganized into R&D and inspection units; the R&D unit was shifted to Bangalore. Later, in 1962, the latter division was re-designated as LRDE and dedicated to the design and development of radar and communications equipment.
When: 2 May 2014