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Vol. 6 No. 1 February 1998 


For validating the design of the armament stores or establishing the composition of an explosive/propellant or performance evalua- tion of rockets, missiles and other test vehicles, dedicated range facilities have been established in different parts of the country. Pashan Ranges at Pune, Ramgarh Ranges at Chandigarh, and Interim Test Ranges and Proof Ranges at Balasore—all are well-equipped with sophisticated instruments and techniques for providing necessary testing/validation of indigenously developed armaments store, rockets and missiles. All performance parameters of weapon systems ranging from small arms to Prithvi missile are adequately tested at these ranges before introduction into the Services.

Pashan Ranges

Ramgarh Range

Chandipore Range

Interim Test Range

Future Plan


.Pashan Ranges

This Range is spread over 150 acres of land surrounded by hills on three sides, which is being utilised for testing the armament stores. The following facilities exist at the Range:


  • Small arms firing up to 1000 m range
  • Velocity measurement tunnel up to 100 m
  • Sand butt tunnel for Artillery, AD Artillery and Integrated Guided Missile Development Progra- mme warheads
  • Leaning tower for seat ejection studies
  • Environment testing for life assessment of armament stores
  • High speed photography and video recording
  • Photometric tunnel for measuring luminosity of illuminating stores
  • 30 m paradrop tower

The Range also has an ammunition storage house for breakdown and assembly of explosive filled stores.

Photometric Tunnel: Luminosity Measurement Facility

The measurement of luminosity of a candle of any illuminating ammunition under dynamic conditions is near impossible due to inaccuracies involved in the measurement of height of burst, rate of descent, etc. The photometric tunnel provides a sequence of events of actual firing. Special features of this facility are:

  • Direct reading in absolute optical units
  • No post-measurement calculation
  • Ambient light compensation
  • High accuracy of photometer
  • Quick setting and simple operation
  • Portability
  • Extremely high sensitivity and linearity

Sand Butt Tunnel

This tunnel has been set up for measuring crucial parameters, such as muzzle velocity, fragments velocity and post-impact phenomenon of artillery projectiles during the development stage. The Tunnel—fully instrumented in a confined space—is a closed butt, 25 ft high and 50 ft long cut open in the hill with its side walls lined with 8 mm thick armour plates and wooden sleepers and its ceiling lined with wooden sleepers. A sand pile (45 deg) with RCC embank wall is provided at the target end. The backside of the RCC walls is reinforced with 14 mm thick armour plates and 3 ft thick RCC wall. Apron walls are provided at 30 deg inclination on both sides of the opening of the closed butt to avoid the possibility of the projectiles going out of the covered butt.


.Ramgarh Range

Ramgarh range located in the northern part of the country is spread over 5000 acres, comprising seven technical zones and an RTRS (Rail Track Rocket Sled) facility. Each zone takes up specific types of firing trials. The expriments/tests carried out in these zones give a complete picture of the complex phenomenon of the weapon-target interaction. The facilities established at this range provide high speed photography, flash radiography, blast and pressure parameters, lethality and fragmentation studies, impact phenomenon studies, etc.

Underwater Shock Pressure Tank

An underwater shock pressure tank (6 m dia and 6 m depth) has been set up for undertaking dynamic shock pressure measurements by recording presure-time profile of shock wave and bubble pulses, on detonation of scaled down high explosive charges. The facility has been extensively used to investigate and compare the performance characteristics of different explosives and also to determine the heat of detonation of unknown explosives.

RTRS Facility
The RTRS is a 1.2 km long rail facility which allows for obtaining acceleration and velocity profiles, accurate performance evaluation under controlled test conditions and recovery of test items for post-test examination and analysis. This has helped in achieving considerable reduction in flight test costs besides compressing the time frames in development programmes for sub-systems of missiles, aircraft and weapon systems. Using RTRS facility, very useful data have been generated for a number of projects of national importance, including Light Combat Aircraft, missiles warheads and Pilotless Target Aircraft. The time and cost thus saved is invaluable.

Baffle Range for Small Arms

The conventional firing range for small arms firing practice requires more than 100 hectares of land. Due to population pressure and sky- rocketing land cost, the Services find it extremely difficult to establish such ranges in their cantonments. This problem has been overcome by developing a new design of range called Baffle Range, which requires an area of two hectares only. Some salient features of this range are:

  • It dispenses with the requirement of a danger area of approx 120 hectares
  • It is 22 m wide and caters for six fires at a time
  • Firing points are provided at 300/200/100 m from the Butt
  • Baffle walls are perpendicular to the line of fire, and
  • It has a growth potential for extension up to 500 m for 5.56 mm INSAS


.Chandipore Range

A firing range established more than a century ago is located along the eastern coast of the country. This extends up to 50 km along the coast, 50 km into sea and 500 m inland from the high water line. Sophisticated and modern facilities established at the range accomplish all types of proof and range work. Some of the unique features of this range are:

  • The crescent-shaped coastline allows firing in a direction which is near the coast, but sufficiently away from the human habitation
  • The firing can be conducted uninterrupted as the firing directions do not cross any busy national/international air sea routes
  • Sea remains shallow near the coast and recedes 4 to 5 km away during a low-tide, which enables easy recovery of the fired projectiles
  • The meteorological conditions facilitate dynamic proof/testing programme for the most part of the year
  • During high tides (twice a day), sea water fills sand in all the pits/craters created during dynamic testing of projectiles
  • Unexploded rounds, once buried in the soft sea bed go deep down over time, which do not pose any hazard to either population or environment
  • Sea bed, once cleared of the sea water, is sufficiently hard to allow the movement of loaded vehicles and even tanks
  • Firing for recovery of ammunition for validation of design is possible on sea bed


.Interim Test Range

For launching missiles, rockets and flight test vehicles, a dedicated range known as Interim Test Range (ITR) was established in 1989. A number of test vehicles of different class including multirole missile Trishul, multitarget capability missile Akash, the antitank Nag missile, the most precise surface-to-surface missile Prithvi and the large scale technology demonstrator Agni have been test fired from this range. With its versatile technical and scientific capability, ITR has also supported a number of other missions such as Multibarrel Rocket Launcher—Pinaka and Pilotless Target Aircraft (PTA).

The range is spread over a length of 17 km along the sea coast where a number of tracking instruments have been deployed to cover the total flight path of the test vehicles. Some of the significant test facilities at ITR are:

  • Electro-Optical Tracking System (Mobile and Fixed)
  • S-Band Tracking Radar (KAMA-N) (Mobile)
  • C-Band Tracking Radar (PCMC) (Fixed)
  • Telemetry System (Fixed and Mobile)
  • Range Computer
  • CCTV System
  • Photo Processing System
  • Meteorological System
  • Range Safety System

.Future Plan

ITR is gearing up for testing the air-borne weapon systems being developed by DRDO with the help of existing and planned state-of-the-art instrumentation. The major thrust is on the ability to track long range missiles, air defence missile systems, weapons system delivered by LCA, multitarget weapon systems, and high ‘g’ maneouverable missiles. The inhouse capabilities for repair, maintenance and upgradations of equipment are being continuously developed. The efforts are also on to develop an Expert System for aiding safety decisions during launch. The ITR is slowly but surely leading into a world class range facility.