Aircraft enthusiasts visiting AAD will no doubt take a moment to admire the elegant lines of the Hawker Hunter T.Mk 68 on display outside Hangar 4, but a closer look under the starboard wing reveals an unusual shape, and the purpose for the aircraft’s presence. CSIR (Hangar 4, Stand D10) has unveiled its Inundu (‘moth’) airborne electronics test, evaluation and training pod, which has been under development since late last year.
Inundu is intended to serve as a multipurpose store that can be used to simulate radar-guided missiles and to jam radar systems. Its versatility allows it to be used for test and evaluation purposes for both missile and radar programmes, as well as electronic warfare training. Designed as a modular system, the pod can be reconfigured with different systems in less than two hours.
CSIR has designed the pod with inbuilt shock/ vibration isolation and temperature control, as well as its own GPS antenna and inertial measurement unit, telemetry datalink and a WiFi connection. The latter allows it to be reprogrammed from outside without having to physically connect to the pod, and also for it to be controlled wirelessly from the cockpit of the carrier aircraft. No military hardening is required, enabling a range of commercial and laboratory equipment to be flown and tested.
Currently Inundu is still in development and the pod on display here is a mock-up. To facilitate carriage by a variety of aircraft, the pod is based on the form of a BL755 bomb. The Hunter is being used under contract to CSIR. The aircraft is owned privately, but is available for hire through E-System Solutions FZE of the UAE, which also operates a fleet of Alpha Jet trainers in the USA and UAE.
In its current state, Inundu requires external power to be integrated with its carrier, but CSIR is working on making it completely independent of the platform. The current system configuration comprises X-band receivers and jammers, but CSIR expects to add C-band systems in the near future. The first flight is expected around the end of March next year.
CSIR has developed Inundu with its own radio frequency components and processors, and will use the pod for its own trials and for those of other South African defence contractors and organisations. CSIR also sees a market for Inundu outside of South Africa, either for the pod itself or for its services under contract.