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ELF Comms Facility Coming Up


Feb 20, 2011
TRISHUL: ELF Comms Facility Coming Up

The Chief of the Naval Staff of the Indian Navy, Admiral Nirmal Verma, will tomorrow lay the foundation stone for an ELF communications station that will come up over the next three years at a site not too far from the Koodankulkam nuclear powerplant in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district. Construction of this station, coming under the ambit of the DRDO’s ATV Project Office, will be carried out by Larsen & Toubro in a turnkey basis. Expected to be commissioned by 2015, this ELF communications station, complete with nuclear-hardened underground bunkers (able to withstand pressures of 10,000 psi), will bear a close resemblance to the Russian 82Hz ZEVS facility (see: ZEVS, The russian 82 Hz ELF transmitter) located at the Kola Peninsula northwest of Murmansk. Needless to say, Russia is closely associated with the R & D for such a facility, with minimal DRDO inputs. When completed, India will be the third country after the US and Russia to host an ELF communications station.

The ELF communications facility constitutes the third leg of a triad of projects being implemented by the DRDO’s ATV Project Office, with the other two being construction of the S-1 ‘half boat’ at Kalpakkam and the S-2, S-3, S-4 and S-5 SSBNs; and development of the 750km-range K-15/B-05, 3,500km-range K-4 and eventually the 8,500km-range SLBM, which in the past had been mistakenly referred to as Agni-6. The ELF communications facility will be specifically employed for communicating with both the Indian Navy’s projected fleet of SSNs and SSBNs while they are on undersea patrols in and around the Maldivian trenches deep within the southern part of the Indian Ocean, a fact I had highlighted way back in 2009.—Prasun K. Sengupta

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