Tellumat strikes success in India

By Leon Engelbrecht, ITWeb senior writer
Johannesburg, 14 Feb 2008

Tellumat's defence business has concluded some deals in India and sees more opportunity for itself and SA. GM Marc Anderson says the company has sold a number of navigation aids to the south Asian country, as well as some Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems.

"We've just started to scratch the surface; there is tremendous opportunity there," Anderson says. "It is a fast-growing economy and the world's second-largest population. Our relations are warm and cordial; every time we go we are warmly received. Real opportunities exist for co-operation with Indian industry and the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) in the domain of defence ICT."

Anderson reports that the company has delivered a consignment of X-Band radar transponders to the Airports Authority of India for use as helicopter landing aids on the Lakshadweep Islands, in the Arabian Sea, to the west of the subcontinent. "The helicopter uses radar to communicate with the transponder, which then guides the rotorcraft to the landing zone."

Anderson adds that the archipelago is quite remote and requires considerable over-water flying. "Ground-based landing aids are important in such circumstances," he says, adding that company technicians will soon install the equipment at designated sites on the picturesque islands.

Military success

Tellumat has also had success in the "secure electronic identification for the military" field, delivering IFF equipment to India's DRDO for testing as part of an Airborne Early Warning system it is developing.

Anderson says IFF dates back to World War Two, when primitive systems were used to tell friendly from enemy aircraft. He says the systems remained unsophisticated until about the 1970s, especially from a security point-of-view. IFF equipment is now software and algorithm-based, he says, and features advanced encoding and cryptology.

The equipment supplied to the DRDO links a crypto-computer to a transceiver. "We are finding the system is of some interest to our customers." He adds it is primarily software driven, with final customisation done by the customer in order to safeguard their national security.

"There is a large ICT component to IFF. It is also a data management system and features some of the same sort of security level - if not higher than that used in banking."

Anderson says the company hopes to sell more of the system to the country. India recently issued a global request for information for a national IFF system. "We, along with other companies, responded and the Indian Air Force is currently developing a request for proposal. This is one of the largest defence forces in the world," Anderson enthuses, "we are speaking of hundreds and hundreds of systems."

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