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Overview

The KALI is not a laser weapon as commonly believed. It emits powerful pulses of electrons (Relativistic Electron Beams- REB). Other components in the machine down the line convert the electron energy into EM Radiation, which can be adjusted to x-ray (as Flash X-Rays) or microwave (High Power Microwave) frequencies.

This has fueled hopes that the KALI could, one day be used in a High-Power Microwave gun, which could destroy incoming missiles and aircraft through soft-kill (destroying the electronic circuitry on the missile). However, weaponising such a system has many obstacles to overcome.

History

The KALI project was first mooted in 1985 by the then Director of the BARC, Dr. R. Chidambaram. Work on the Project began in 1989, being developed by the Accelerators & Pulse Power Division of the BARC. (Dr. Chidambaram was also the Scientific advisor the Prime Minister, and the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission). DRDO is also involved with this project. It was initially developed for industrial applications, although defence applications became clearer later.

The first accelerators had a power of ~0.4GW, which increased as later versions were developed. These were the KALI 80, KALI 200, KALI 1000, KALI 5000 and KALI 10000.

The KALI-5000 was commissioned for use in late 2004.

Design

The KALI series (KALI 80, KALI 200, KALI 1000, KALI 5000 and KALI 10000) of accelerators are described as “Single Shot Pulsed Gigawatt Electron Accelerators”. They are single shot devices, using water filled capacitors to build the charge energy. The discharge is in the range of 1GW. Initially starting with 0.4GW power, present accelerators are able to reach 40GW. Pulse time is about 60 ns.

The Microwave radiations emitted by the KALI-5000 are in the 3–5 GHz Range

The KALI-5000 is a pulsed accelerator of 1 MeV electron energy, 50-100 ns pulse time, 40kA Current and 40 GW Power level. The system is quite bulky as well, with the KALI-5000 weighing 10 tons, and the KALI-10000, weighing 26 tons. They are also very power hungry, and require a cooling tank of 12,000 liters of oil. Recharging time is also too long to make it a viable weapon in its present form.

Applications

The KALI has been put to various uses by the DRDO. The DRDO was involved in configuring the KALI for their use.

The X-rays emitted are being used in Ballistics research as an illuminator for ultrahigh speed photography by the Defence Ballistics Research Institute (DBRL) in Chandigarh. The Microwave emissions are used for EM Research.

The microwave-producing version of Kali has also been used by the DRDO scientists for testing the vulnerability of the electronic systems of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), which was then under development.

It has also helped in designing electrostatic shields to “harden” the LCA and missiles from microwave attack by the enemy as well as protecting satellites against deadly Electromagnetic Impulses (EMI) generated by nuclear weapons and other cosmic disturbances, which “fry” and destroy electronic circuits. Electronic components currently used in missiles can withstand fields of approx. 300 V/cm, while the fields in case of EMI attack reach thousands of V/cm.

As a Weapon

The KALI’s potential for a military role as a beam weapon has made it, in the eyes of China a threat. However, weaponisation of the KALI will take some time. The system is still under development, and efforts are being made to make it more compact, as well as improve its recharge time, which, at the present, makes it only a single use system.

There are also issues with creating a complete system, which would require development of many more components. There have been reports of placing the weaponized KALI in an Il-76 aircraft as an airborne defence system. There is also speculation of using the KALI as an Anti-satellite weapon and as a space-based weapon system, although it is unlikely that they would be implemented, given India’s stance on those issues.

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DRDO rather than starting all over again the Arjun Mk.2 will have the same design of Arjun Mk.1, but major changes are planned for the new generation variant of Arjun Tank to keep up with the new technological changes which are been incorporated in the MBT’s world over.

Arjun Mk.2 will have Battle Field Management System (BFMS) which will enable the tank to get feed from UAV‘s and Helicopters, which then enable the Arjun Mk.2 tank crew much aware of their surroundings and better understanding of the battle zone, this will lead to improvement in coordinating with other Friendly tanks in the zone and also avoid Friendly kills, it will also give information regarding enemy tank movement along with their troops and help navigate terrain in the battle zone.

Self-diagnostic system (SDS) will also be added to Arjun Mk.2 which is like a health monitoring system. it will not only tell the tank crew if it is having any problem but also point out the trouble area , it is also important when Tank has taken multiple hits from different position and from different ammunition after a self-diagnose Tank crew will know exact damage inflicted on the Tank .

Arjun Mk.2 will get a new efficient 1500bhp engine which has been in development by DRDO in India its self, they are reports that a Indian Private industry is also working with DRDO on the engine development, currently Arjun Mk.1 is powered by German supplied 1400bhp engine which is quite old in design and technical parameters but still a powerful and respected engine in the world.

NERA (non-explosive reactive armor) will be added to Arjun Mk.2 this will give the tank additional protection against anti-tank munitions, unlike ERA, NERA will enable tank to take multiple hits anti-tank munitions, but also increase the weight of Arjun Mk.2 to 60 tons from its current weight (Arjun Mk.1) of 58 tons.

It is much likely that Arjun Mk.2 will also spot Air-conditioning system for the crew, which will be powered from an APU which will draw its power from the Main engine of the Tank; this will enable the tank crew to operate in higher temperature of desert heat without any discomfort to the tank crew, Arjun Mk.1 already has hardened electronics that function perfectly even in the Rajasthan summer without requiring any Air-conditioning system

The Arjun Mk.2 is to undergo summer and winter trails in 2012. If the tests are satisfactory, then the tank will be able to begin production in 2014.

Specifications:
Weight: 60 tons
Length: 10.638 meters
Width: 3.864 meters
Height: 2.32 meters
Crew: 4 (commander, gunner, loader and driver)

Armor: steel/composite Kanchan armour and NERA
Primary weapon: 120 mm rifled tank gun
Secondary weapon: HCB 12.7 mm AA MG, Mag 7.62 mm Tk715 coaxial MG
Engine: DRDO 1,500hp
Power/weight: 25 hp/ton
Operational range: 435 kilometers
Speed: 75 km/h (45 mph) Road, 42 km/h (25 mph) Cross country

Cost: $13 million est.

FMBT

The Indian Army wants the tank to have an Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system “to obviate chances of own tanks firing at each other in battle”, and a whole new reliable and secure mobile communication system capable of data transmission, audio and video conference. Protection in the form of soft-kill system requires IR detectors, laser warning, radar warning and devices to instantaneously integrate these signals and control a countermeasure suite. Such systems are threat specific so all would have to be carried on a vehicle to gain protection against more than one part of the EM threat spectrum.

For mobility, in order to achieve ‘extraordinary’ acceleration, the Army observes that it is necessary to seek a compact power pack in the form of a gas turbine. The Army wants an active suspension system with sensors, control units, and a hydraulic power source in combination, to automatically alter the suspension characteristics to more closely match the speed of the vehicle and the terrain profile, especially in Indian terrain conditions.

The Army says it wants a high-performance armour system on its FMBT with advanced materials incorporating the following qualities A. Reduced penetration by most lethal weapons, B. Elimination of parasitic mass leading to a weight reduction, C. Excellent corrosion resistance, D. Inherent thermal and acoustic insulation properties.