The system uses a series of special cameras fitted to a 360-degree mount & fixed at top of the turret
A Bangalore-based start-up has set out to give tank crew a vital edge over their hostile counterparts: the ability to see right through their armour, at the world around them.
The development was partly made by a former Indian Navy submariner whose career in the fighting blind ‘silent service’ gave him an acute appreciation for sight.
The system uses a series of special cameras fitted to a 360-degree mount and fixed to the top of the turret. The camera feeds video round the clock to heads-up displays worn by crew members.
Lt Commander D Rajendra Kumar (Retd), director of programs at Tonbo, said the system gives tank crews the instant ability to see what is happening in the world around them without sticking their heads up through hatches or looking through portholes which afford a narrow field of vision.
Rajendra Kumar said that the invention, dubbed the ‘Wolfpack,’ has its origins in his experiences as a submariner in the Indian Navy till 2013 and by the Kargil war, during which Indian forces suffered casualties because of poor visibility.
“One of the biggest problems facing the tank crew is their limited visibility. A delay in seeing an enemy usually comes with negative consequences,” Rajendra Kumar said, adding that the camera system had been in development for nearly a decade and uses a head-up display, similar to google glass.
The setup was mounted on a BMP-II Sarath armoured-personnel carrier at Aero India 2021 and was examined by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Secretary of Defence Production Ajay Kumar described the system as a success story ensuing from incubation in the government’s Innovation for Defence Excellence (iDex) ecosystem in 2019.
“It gives a tremendous feeling of pride to see that the development took about 8 to 10 months,” he said, adding that the home-grown innovation had been achieved within the standard IDex funding package of Rs 1.5 crore.
Rajendra Kumar said that the system is currently under trial by the Israeli defence forces and that data from its performance is expected soon.
Thermal Imaging Info
He added that the system, which can also provide thermal imaging information directly into the headsets of tank crew, can identify armoured vehicles at a range of up to 2,000 metres and individual troops at a range of up to 500 metres.