Alpha Defense Exclusive
DRDO ASPJ One Step Closer
One of the most anticipated systems under the Indian Defence EW umbrella suite has been the Airborne Self Protection Jamming Pod (ASPJ), being developed in-house by Defence Avionics Research Establishment, Bangalore. To its credit, are many of our older systems that power the EW strengths of our IAF fleet.
That being said, we now have more news to deliver!
Based on available information, the production of 8 initial prototypes of ASPJ initiated in November 2020 will probably be taken up by Aditya Precitech Pvt Ltd, a Hyderabad-based firm. They will fabricate the complete ASPJ Pods and hand them over to DARE, and post that IAF will receive it for acceptance testing on the Su-30MKI platform.
The primary components of the ASPJ compromises of the following:
- 16 Element Active Array Transmitter Receiver Unit (ATRU)
- An indigenously developed cooling system
- ERP Module (Exciter Receiver Processor)
Most noticeable advances have been made in the inclusion of wideband DRFM (digital radio frequency memory) modules, and possibly gallium nitride (GaN)-based solid-state active electronically scanned array (AESA) jammer transmitters.
The cooling system has been developed by a separate private firm, Sanpar Microfilters Pvt Ltd, which is an impressive feat in itself, having previously sourced our cooling systems for HBJ and SIVA Pods from Israel, this is one more dependency we have let go of.
Why the new SPJ?
Indian Air Force has long relied on a mix and match style of assembling its EW Suite. Most noticeably, the N011M Bars mated with the in-house Tarang RWR, which was further interfaced with Israeli EL-8222 SPJ. All these resulted in unnecessary workarounds with respect to interfacing, issues with source-code availability etc, which can now be done away with once the new DARE-based ASPJ rolls out. We can proudly say that we will be a step closer to achieving self-reliability in completing our EW Suite for airborne assets.
What we are now seeing here is a single ASPJ pod, which offers more advantage than a dual wingtip setup of the HBJ (High Band Jammer) meant only for Su-30MKIs. And unlike the SIVA Pod, which technically ended up being an IMR Pod, (as seen with the Brahmos Seeker Test), the new DRDO ASPJ will be a dedicated component of the EW Suite for our future lineup of 4.5+ and 5th Gen aircraft.
Compatibility and Potential with Radars and RWR
The ASPJ Pod is set to interface with Tarang RWR and Bars N011M PESA radar of the Su-30MKI for now and eventually could move on to the more powerful GaN powered Uttam AESA Radar with all-digital Dhruti RWR as well. As of now, the Su-30MKIs still operate the analog Tarang RWR, and hence, safe to assume that the new ASPJ will be backward compatible friendly.
An ideal configuration in the near future could be something like GaN Uttam AESA + Dhruti RWR + DRDO ASPJ + X-Band Towed Decoy which just makes it a lethal combination to enter fights with.