The Indian Army and Defence Geoinformatics and Research Establishment (DGRE) have jointly installed the Avalanche Monitoring Radar in north Sikkim. The radar was inaugurated by Lieutenant General Tarn Kumar Aich, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, General Officer commanding TriShakti Corps.

This has been positioned at one of the forward posts of the Indian Army deployed at an altitude of 15,000 feet in north Sikkim. This radar, a first of its kind in India, can detect avalanches within three seconds of their trigger and will assist in saving the valuable life of troops and reducing damage to property in super high altitude areas.

Sikkim receives high rainfall throughout the year, mainly during winters and is prone to avalanche. Therefore, this monitoring system will be a great help to the forces.

The avalanche radar was made operational by DGRE of DRDO-7, an organisation which is involved in forecasting and mitigation of avalanche hazards faced by the Indian Army in the Himalayan Region. This radar uses a series of short microwave pulses which are scattered at the target and can detect an avalanche in under 3 seconds. The radar can permanently scan the targeted slope for avalanche release and track the path of the avalanche and its size in case it is triggered.

The radar can see through snow, and fog as well as at the night, making it an all-weather solution and covering an area of 2 square km obviating the requirement to place additional instruments in dangerous avalanche-prone areas. The radar is also linked to an alarm system enabling automatic control and warning measures in case an avalanche is triggered. Images and videos of the event are automatically recorded for future analysis by the experts. Besides being used for the detection of avalanches, this radar can also be employed to detect landslides.

In an area where the frequency of triggering of avalanches is high, the installation of the first Avalanche Radar will go a long way in safeguarding the life of troops of the Army deployed in harsh terrain and sub-zero temperatures while at the same time limiting damage to vehicles and equipment operating at such snowbound high altitudes areas.

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