New Delhi: Indian scientists have indigenously developed an aerostat which could be deployed for surveillance of Naxal-hit areas, but is currently lying in
a hangar at Bangalore for want of a flight range to test it.
Christened as `Chakshu`, this medium-sized aerostat is a
result of a three-year collaboration between National
Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), a Council of Scientific and
Industrial Research (CSIR) lab, and Defence Research and
The 320-cubic metre helium-filled balloon can keep an
eye on the happenings below it, remaining stationary at an
altitude of 1.5 km. The giant balloon can be tethered to the
ground station and also can be flown using remote control.
Three cameras can be mounted on the aerostat each having
a range to scan developments in a 30 km radius. It can float
in air for six hours to beam pictures.
The scientists hope to carry out field trials after the
DRDO flight testing range in Chitradurga in Karnataka is ready
"We have been unable to carry out test flight of the
aerostat as we do not have a flight range. The one at Kolar
cannot be used as it falls in the path of flights taking off
or landing at the Bangalore airport," S Selvarajan, a NAL
He admitted that the aerostat could be vulnerable to
enemy fire at its current altitude of 1.5 km.
India imports aerostat balloons from Israel for military
purposes like keeping a watch on the international border.
However, they are much bigger that the one developed by