Bangalore: India`s new aeronautical test range (ATR) for weapons trials became operational Wednesday near Chitradurga in central Karnataka, a top defence official said.
"The new test range became operational with the first ever bomb testing experiments of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas," Prahlada, chief controller of the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said in a statement.
The Indian defence behemoth had to shift the test range to Chellakere near Chitradurga, about 200 km from Bangalore, from Kolar, about 100 km from Bangalore, as the original air-to-ground range was coming in the flight path of the new Bangalore international airport at Devanahalli, about 40 km away from the city centre.
"Though the total infrastructure and other logistic facilities are yet to be completed, we have activated the test range for the bomb dropping trials, which were successful," Prahlada said.
The tests included air-to-ground weapon and drop tank jettison trials of Tejas, which is at the advanced state of flight tests for the initial operational clearance.
Group Capt (Retd) R.R. Tyagi piloted the prototype vehicle (PV-2) of the fighter and dropped practice bombs on the target.
"The air-to-ground target and range safety officer bunkers were constructed at the range site for the trials. The mobile telemetry with critical system monitoring personnel were also positioned at the test range," ADA programme director P.S. Subramanyam said on the occasion.
The mobile telemetry was linked to the base station in Bangalore to monitor the test aircraft data and video in real-time.
The new facility is being set up by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) in association with the national flight test centre of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), which are part of the defence research lab.
The new range will also be used for various tests of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) flights and electronic warfare systems in the near future.