Monday, September 18, 2023

DRDO developing portable automatic weather stations for airfields and helipads located in remote areas

Chandigarh: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is developing portable automatic weather stations (AWS) for use at remote airfields and helipads where there are no facilities to monitor climatic parameters.

While all regular IAF airbases have full-fledged meteorological services or fixed AWS, such facilities are not available at advance landing grounds (ALG) and helicopter operating sites located in Ladakh and the north-east.

Meteorological information such as surface temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity, atmospheric pressure, cloud cover and visibility is vital for aviation operations as these not only impact the performance of aircraft and helicopters but are also critical for flight safety, more so during take-off and landing.

According to DRDO scientists, flight operations to ALGs are not a regular basis but depend on particular requirements. ALGs are primarily unpaved airstrips or hardened mud in remote areas and have little navigation and support facilities except for possibly runway markers and a wind sock for indicating the direction and speed of the wind and a refuelling bowser and fire tender being stationed during a flight.

“Since operations to ALGs and other remote helipads are not frequent, there is no need to install permanent AWS as these will add to the maintenance effort,” a DRDO scientist said. “On the other hand, weather in the mountains can change without warning, which can affect flying. Portable AWS, which can be stored in nearby military units and deployed when needed, is an effective way to deal with this,” he added.

17/09/2023 Vijay Mohan/Tribune

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