The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the government agency charged with the military's research and development, has now developed new space heating devices, called 'Him Tapak', for Indian Army personnel deployed in eastern Ladakh, Siachen, and other high altitude areas.
These devices will be kept in military tents or in other small places to keep the surrounding temperature warm and protect the personnel from the freezing cold.
Dr Rajeev Varshney, the Director of the Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences has said that the purpose of making these devices is to ensure that the jawans do not die of backblast and carbon monoxide poisoning during the cold.
"DRDO developed 'Him Tapak' new space heating devices for the Indian Army deployed in Eastern Ladakh, Siachen and high altitude areas. It will ensure that there are no deaths of jawans due to backblast and carbon monoxide poisoning," news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
Moreover, Dr Varshney explained that three other improvements have also been made in the space heating devices, because of which the consumption of oil has almost halved. This will save the Union Ministry of Defence a total sum worth about Rs 3,650 crores per year.
For the uninitiated, the Siachen Base Camp of the 102 Infantry Brigade of the XIV Corps of the Indian Army is located 12,000 feet above sea level north of Leh and is the highest post in the region, besides being one of the highest vehicle-accessible passes in the world.
The temperature can go down as much as to minus 86°C during winters with icy 300 kmph blizzards. The average temperature remains between minus 25°C during day and minus 55°C during the night.
On account of these freezing temperatures, conventional home heating systems often run for hours at a stretch, increasing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning for the people exposed to it. When the gas from these furnaces and heaters build up in enclosed spaces, people and animals can be poisoned and can die from breathing the lethal carbon monoxide.
To prevent such things from happening, the Indian Army can now use these new 'Heat Tapak' space heating devices without running the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, yet managing to avoid the freezing cold in the high altitude areas like eastern Ladakh.
Space heaters are powered by electricity or a burnable fuel, such as natural gas, propane, fuel oil, or wood pellets. and they heat a single, small area. These new space heating devices (SHEDs) give both radiative as well as convective type heating and are efficient in terms of kerosene consumption and heat generation. The CO build up in the room is almost zero as all the gases are exhausted to outside. It is totally safe as there are no chances of blast by the back draft of air.
Since these new devices are naturally advantageous over the conventional heaters that have low operating efficiency and are having safety hazards, the armed forces are preferring these new heaters for the personnel.
The Indian Army has already placed orders worth Rs 420 crores to the manufacturers of this device and they would be deployed in all the new habitats, where temperatures are low, of the Indian Army and the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).