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Industrial tour DRDO 01

On 24 September 2009, students of final year Aeronautical engineering of CMEC undertook an industrial visit to a place, where our former President, Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam dedicated more than 10 years of his life towards strengthening the Defence capabilities of the nation. The Defence Research and Development Laboratory – DRDL is situated at Kanchanbagh, Hyderabad.

The program started at 9:00am when all the students were asked to gather at college premises to board a bus along with four faculties members; Mr.Veeranjayneyulu – Senior Faculty: SADD (Structural Analysis and Detailed Design), Mr.Vijay Krishna – Faculty: TVA (Theory of Vibrations and Aero elasticity), Mr. Arjun – Faculty: FVD (Flight Vehicle Design) and Mr.Maikandan – Faculty: HE (Helicopter Engineering).

Everyone was geared up by 9: 30 to proceed for the thrilling day ahead and the HOD – Aeronautical and Mechanical Branch Mr.Veeraraju and Incharge Aeronautics Mr.Prasad wished the students a safe trip and advised them grasp as much knowledge as possible in the short time provided to them. Lastly the banner was tied up to the bus which read, ‘STUDENTS ON INDUSTRIAL VISIT’; just as the bus was about to leave the campus, Dr. Talla Siva Prasad, the Principal of the college cautioned every students to listen and obey to the faculty members accompanying them and not create ruckus at the DRDL and bring a bad name to the college.

Having ignored everything said as the bus went past the Principal’s chamber, large commotion was made by the students. In simpler terms, the party began in the bus. From howling to whistling, there was non stop noise in the bus till the Aeromaniacs Howlers left the college campus. Once the ride begun the game of Antakshari took over the commotion and later Dumb Charades was being played till they reached the final destination, the DRDL – Complex, at 11:15am.

Representing the prestigious Defence organization was Mr. Nuruddin Ahmad, a Scientist ‘C’ from the Human Resources Department, who accompanied the students inside the establishment. All the cell phones, cameras, USB drives and any sort of storage devices were to be deposited at the security counter and thus the entry was made at 11:30am after preliminary security check and frisking.

The first lab, which the students were taken to was the Structural and Dynamic Test Facility, which comprised of two sections, one dealing with the Thermal Analysis of missile components and the other, which dealt with Vibrational analysis. Mr. Vijay and Mr. Ramakrishna, both Scientist – C were humble enough to take time out from their regular schedule of testing the equipments and share few techniques of the working and functioning of the modules present at the lab. This briefing, which lasted for two hours and comprised of students having a look of the real Motors of AGNI-III missiles and BrahMos – Casings. Put in words by Hareesh a student of 4th year, “It was moment of great pride to have witnessed these huge missiles with indigenous designs, developed by our country to defend our nation”.

Team Aeromaniacs getting geared up; HOD Mr.Veeraraju in centre. Credit: Dynamic Warrior

Team Aeromaniacs getting geared up; HOD Mr.Veeraraju in centre. Credit: Dynamic Warrior

The feeling of pride was about to be magnified as students were taken to the executive lounge for lunch, where VVIPs are served, hence living the day King size was the motto of the students. Praveen said he felt treated like a slave, when in the morning he was made to stand in the labs for 2 hours and listening to the lectures, which were surely interesting but tiring adding to the woe the absence of fans, but he was surprised when they made their way into the centrally air conditioned dining hall, the relaxing period was just for an hour. Again at 2:00pm the group was adjourned to be taken over by the next facility.

Everyone was expecting to witness something bigger and cooler than the famous AGNI missile and so they were taken to “Aero Ballistic Range” Mr.V Shanmugam, Scientist – C explained to the students, the process of firing a ballistic head through a pin hole across the room from a artillery Gun operated by Gunners of Indian Army, situated 40mtrs across the end of the testing section which itself was 140mtrs long. He explained that the reason behind such set up was to analysis real time Data by recording the flight trajectory of the ballistic across the whole length of the room which was filled with Infra Red sensors and Cameras.

The projectile or simply the bullet fired from an artillery gun propels to massive speed of Mach 3 to Mach 5, which means 3 to 5 times the speed of sound or roughly 1650m/sec. The danger involved with such high velocities lead to the development of another test facility to measure similar track records but in a varied fashion. The Wind Tunnel Testing section where Mr. Srikanth Scientist – C clarified the major difference between the ballistic testing range, he mentioned in this context the model to be tested is held fixed and high speed flow modelling the real time situations are made to flow across the scaled model and hence the required data is collected through the sensing equipments, the high amount of pressure required to propel these wind tunnels comes from a reciprocating compressor of 30 bars capacity.

The final frontier to cover was the Missile Hall of Fame, as the students called it, where full size models of all the missiles developed by DRDL were housed under a single roof, to exhibit to the nation and guarantee tactical superiority over other nations. As Mr. Ahmad, the guide for the industrial tour pointed out, it was Dr. Abdul Kalam’s idea to have a Museum of Missiles as no facility housed a complete integrated unit of missile and hence especially for guests, who don’t understand the technicalities behind a project it would be an enthralling experience to see all the missiles under one roof and in single piece.

The Entrance of DRDL. Credit: Dynamic Warrior

The Entrance of DRDL. Credit: Dynamic Warrior

From the ATM – Anti Tank Missile developed in 1962, till the latest BrahMos all the missiles models are on display in the museum, scaled down models of LCA – Light Combat Aircraft, AGNI, TRISHUL, NAG, AKASH, ASTRA, PRITHVI, and HSTV- Hyper Sonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle.  All in all, the complete scenario displayed the work carried out in the DRDL since its indictment into the services of the Joint Defence Staff, under the Ministry of Defence.

The trip came to an abrupt end when the college bus driver forced the student team to board the bus quickly as he wished to return home early. Several negotiations with college transport department failed due to gap in prior communication of intimation of proper timings of the trip and hence the trip was cut short and the students were brought back an hour early before the completion of the complete trip. This lead to several gloomy and irritated faces on the return journey to the college.

One thing, which the students pondered upon the trip back was the words Mr. Ahmad spoke when asked about the possibility of carrying out a project in DRDL premises, he said “Only students from the IIT’s and the wards of DRDL employees are allowed to carry out projects.” Aravind a student of final year suggested, “If state of the art facilities like NASA, ESA across the globe allow college students to carry out their projects, why doesn’t the Indian Government wish to let the Indian students (Final year students of B.E./B.Tech, etc) to get access to these labs and gain knowledge.”

The students reached college at 4:30pm and were exhausted after the tiring trip but were equally excited to have learnt so much in a single day and requested their college authorities to arrange for such educational oriented trips more often and in a much more organized fashion.

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