Thiruvananthapuram, May 29: With an aim to enhance India’s defense prepared, Defense Minister Arun Jaitley inaugurated Nation’s first high-tech Aeronautical Test Range in at Challakere in Karnataka's Chitradurga district on Sunday. This new ATR has two hangers to house UAVs, radar centre, fibre-optic network, and a separate residential complex on 200 acres.
While inaugurating ATR Defense Minister Jaitley said that “India is not free from security threats coming from a neighbour (Pakistan), over the past seven decades. So, our level of Defence preparedness must be optimum. The ATR at Varavu Kaval near Challakere in Chitradurga district will play a vital role in helping India tackle threats from external forces.”
“The entire Defence preparedness would be tested here. This way, Chitradurga district would find a key spot on the global map in the near future as the Aeronautical Test Range is situated in a location where Indian Space Research Organization, Indian Institute of Science and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre are its neighbours,” Minister Jaitley added.
Ajay Singh, Director, DRDO said that the ATR, sprawling 4,090 acres, was built at a cost of Rs.290 Crore. The ATR campus has 31 buildings and a 2.2km runway that can be expanded to 3km to help larger aircraft land and take off.
The Rs 1,300 Crore facility's secure air space will enable integrating and testing of various UAVs and other Defense equipment, including weapons, parachutes, aerostats and electric warfare flares before their induction into the services. "The ATR houses the air traffic display system with remote control of radar operations, an Air Traffic Control radio frequency voice communication system and a range operational communication system," said the official.
Keeping in mind the safety of the environment, in line with the National Green Tribunal guidelines, there will be no test flights of ballistic missiles to protect the natural ecological system around.