Software glitch put missile off target

Glitches in a new software that has been designed for precision strikes caused the BrahMos surface-to-surface cruise missile to go off target....

Written by Manu Pubby | New Delhi | Published:January 22, 2009 11:38 pm

Glitches in a new software that has been designed for precision strikes caused the BrahMos surface-to-surface cruise missile to go off target during Tuesday’s test-firing. Scientists are now looking through the new software ‘line by line’ to identify the fault and revalidate the algorithm for further tests.

BrahMos chief A Sivathanu Pillai told The Indian Express that a special team has been formed to find the problem in the land attack missile that was being tested using a new ‘Block II’ upgradation in the software.

“It is an upgradation that will result in identifying a particular target in a group of targets. Like when there are a number of buildings but a small building is important (to be targeted). At the test,the missile went off normally but the target was not hit,” Pillai said.

Sources who were present at the test site said the missile missed its target by at least 2 km. They clarified that the missile was not being tested in a ‘nuclear role’ but was fired in a new vertical launch mode.

Scientists are now hoping to rectify the fault in the software and get the missile ready for the next round of trials within a month. Scientists said the missile performance was ‘absolutely normal’ till the last phase when it missed the target but it managed to maintain the desired direction.

While the BrahMos system has already been inducted in the Army,the trials were being carried out after Army HQ insisted on a detailed demonstration of its precise attack capabilities before ordering more regiments.

A new vertical launch configuration,that would make it easier to store and deploy from a fixed platform,was also being tested for the first time for the Army variant of the Brahmos.

The missile,which has been developed by a joint Indo-Russian team,is a fast attack cruise missile that can carry a 200 kg payload and can hit targets at a range of 280 km at speeds exceeding 2.8 Mach.

In December,the missile was launched in a vertical configuration from a moving warship in the Bay of Bengal using a Universal Vertical Launcher. The test was described to be successful with the missile meeting all mission requirements.

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