A technology demonstration vessel (TDV) being built for India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) has been fitted with a housing for a new type of dual-panel long-range radar system as per Jane's Defence.

There is limited publicly available information on the radar, but details on the sensor, known as the Long-Range Multi-Function Radar (LRMFR) or multi-object tracking radar [MOTR], emerged in 2016.

Indian sources have described the radar as an active phased array radar with a range in excess of 500 km. Like the Elta MF-STAR, it features octagonal faceplates that are approximately 5.5–6 m in diameter.

The 130-meter-long DRDO Technology Demonstration Vessel (TDV)) was built at a cost of Rs.425 crores by the Kochi-based Cochin Shipyard Ltd and was expected to be delivered by late 2019. Contract for this vessel was inked in early August 2015. The vessel was built to commercial standards specifications and is currently being fitted with ‘user-supplied equipment’. The TDV has been dubbed as Hi-Tech Vessel (and ship number 20).

The TDV was contracted to Cochin Shipyard Limited by DRDO on August 2015. This vessel has a length of 118.4 meter, 20 meter width and 7.1 meter draft and having a steel weight of approximately 3900 Tonne. The original contract for construction of the vessel was signed with Bharati Shipyard, but time overruns forced by the yard’s poor finances led to termination of the contract. Subsequently, the Cochin Shipyard won the bid to execute this project.

The mission and capabilities of this ship have been a bit of a puzzle. According to some accounts, once ready, this missile range instrumentation ship [MRIS] ship would be equipped with a smaller version of the multi-object tracking radar [MOTR], known as the M-MOTR, as well as X-band active phased-array precision-tracking radar. The MOTR will track different stages of launch vehicles simultaneously during nominal and non-nominal missions. The tracking data will be used for computing the Instantaneous Impact Points (IIPs) of the descending/separated objects of the launch vehicle, more accurately. This MRIS would be used for monitoring the flight trajectories of long-range subsonic and supersonic land-attack cruise missiles, especially during their terminal phases of flight. The MRIS vessels are said not for intelligence gathering since their on-board sensors are all RF-emitting. Intelligence-gathering vessels would not emit anything, as they have only all-passive listening sensors to soak in the RF emissions of interest. But this is not the caser, as the USA had a number of radar tracking ships monitoring the DPRK and China. The ship reportedly would have an array of sensors and radars to track flight of under-development long-range missiles during their test-firing. One of the major missile development program ongoing in India is that of the K-4 intermediate-range submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) with an operational range of around 3,500 km.

The TDV project was contracted on 11 August 2015 with a value of INR3.65 billion (USD50.2 million), and this was subsequently increased to INR3.9 billion as the scope of work expanded.

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