India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) has developed thermally regulated shelters to provide protection to the soldiers against extreme climatic condition of the Himalayan regions.
DRDO dedicated these hi-tech shelters to the HQ 14 Corps at a function in Leh, Ladakh on June 16. Given the lethal weather conditions in the high altitude area where nature is a bigger adversary, soldiers and officers alike have welcomed the induction of these shelters in Ladakh region.
According to DRDO, these shelters are equipped with integrated temperature regulators, bio-digestors and air-monitoring systems. Modular in design, the shelter has all the facilities like electrical, plumbing, water supply and sewage disposal.
Kerosene gensets and solar power are well integrated within the shelter. They have been designed to withstand seismic activities up to a level of zone 5, wind velocities up to 55 m/sec and sub zero temperatures up to minus 35 degree Celsius. The carbon dioxide level inside the shelter is closely monitored and maintained within safe limits.
The deployment of soldiers in high altitude zone also causes a variety of health related problems like acute mountain sickness, high altitude pulmonary oedema and high altitude cerebral oedema. DRDO has developed a Composite Indian Herbal Preparation and low dose glucocorticoid therapy to prevent acute mountain sickness. New treatments have been developed for protecting soldiers from cold injuries which, if left untreated, may lead to amputation.
Low oxygen availability at high altitude causes a marked decline in appetite, which in turn may cause weight loss, especially at extreme altitudes (above 15,000 ft). DRDO has developed appetisers using traditional condiments which have become popular. Several innovative state-of-the-art food processing technologies have been introduced; many technologies like self-heating pouches have been designed to suit Indian food habits, terrain, climatic conditions as well as daily physical activities of our troops.
Special yoga packages have also been developed to optimise physical and mental performance of soldiers. Special nutritional packages have been designed by DRDO to provide higher energy of 3500-5000 calories per day for the soldiers. Efforts are also underway to develop nutraceuticals from local herbs of these regions as antidotes to hypoxia-related problems, DRDO scientists said.
The Indian Army is the world’s second largest standing volunteer army. Given the severe conditions in which they have to operate, more such innovations dedicated to them will be more than welcome.