Missiles in India are set to become more lighter and smarter with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on the verge of launching a System on Chip (SOC) component which will be embedded on to the onboard computer (OBC). The SOC will give a major technological advantage to the scientists to either increase the range of the missile or the warhead, depending upon the mission. The processing speed of the onboard computer will go up 6-7 times with the System on Chip.
A five-member team of young Indian scientists are eagerly waiting for the final product The SOC will replace the PCB-based hardware consisting of various integrated components (IC) on a single board. A missile typically carries a huge number of such IC's making the total weight of the OBC close to 4-5 kilos. The SOC with it's power supply unit and connecters will weigh less than 200 grams.
This is the first time that India will equip it's missiles with such state-of-the-art components. The US, Israel and China have already made inroads in similar technologies. The SOC will be as small as a match-box with high computing intense application and very low power requirement. The efficiency of the missile will also be increased by many folds.
The miniaturisation of the onboard systems makes the missile high-performance in nature. Smaller avionics means more options for warhead with more propulsion. India will have a huge cost advantage having made the SOC indigenously. The SOC will be an integral part of all future navigation and homing guidance seekers.
DRDO hopes to get the first block of SOC's in December 2011 and then later test it the on a short-range air-to-air Astra missile by mid-2012. The Astra is a BVR (Beyond Visual Range) missile will be integrated with India's Su-30 MKI and later on Tejas and MiG-29's.
Tactical missiles will be the biggest beneficiaries of the SOC and the DRDO is aiming to standardise and offer the SOC to more platforms in the future.