January 8, 2014

Self-Reliant India Eyes New Terrains in Parachute Tech


India has become self-reliant in designing and manufacturing brake parachutes used in various fighter jets of the Indian Air Force, claimed scientists at the Agra-based Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE).
In addition, heavy drop parachutes for transport aircraft, recovery chutes for unmanned platforms and ejection seat chutes have also gone the desi way, thanks to the efforts of the ADRDE, a DRDO lab.
Speaking to Express, ADRDE Director Dr S C Sati said over 10 lakh parachutes were delivered to the IAF in the last 10 years by Indian industries via the transfer of technology route. “Today, brake parachutes used in Su-30 MKI, Jaguar, Tejas, Hawk, MiG 29 and MiG 27 are all made in India. We have recently designed a 30 sq m area cluster of five parachutes for heavy drop systems in P-16. Almost all the IAF assets are now using Indian parachutes, thereby reducing the important content. It has been a silent march towards total self-reliance,” Sati said.
Computational fluid dynamics analysis, parafoil analysis and wind-tunnel tests are done before the realisation of a chute. “It is a very critical, yet less-talked about feature of all fighter jets. The parachutes will have to also open outside the wake penetration area of an aircraft,” Sati said. Normally a parachute is released 1-1.5 seconds after the pilot gives the command. In Tejas, it is the spring-activated mechanism that comes to play, while in Su-30 MKI, it is a cartridge firing system that goes live, soon after the aircraft lands. The Tejas chute weighs around 5 kg and it is 15 kg for Sukhoi. “The landing speed of the aircraft matters and the chutes are designed accordingly. A Sukhoi lands at 320 km/hour, while Tejas lands around 270 km/hour. The type of parachutes vary according to the aircraft,” he said.
Ejection seat parachutes designed by the ADRDE are being used in Jaguars, Kirans, MiGs and Sea Harriers, while the recovery systems are part of unmanned missions undertaken by Lakshya and Nishant. Currently, the scientists are developing crew capsule recovery parachutes for the country’s space programmes. “The design validation process with appropriate ground test are progressing at the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory in Chandigarh. It is a new area for us as the crew module has to be stable while landing. We have to ensure that the initial shock should not be very heavy and the speed reduction should be slow and limited to the human capability. The idea is to stabilise the crew module,” Sati said.
For Navy, the ADRDE is developing chutes that drop torpedoes from IL-38, an operation that demands flawlessness. “The release mechanism dictates that the entry of a torpedo into water should be at an appropriate angle.

Indian Express

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