AN enhanced version of the Pinaka Mk-1 missile, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was successfully flight-tested from the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur, off the coast of Odisha, on Wednesday.
DRDO officials said the enhanced version of the Pinaka Mk-1 system was taken up to achieve longer-range performance compared to the earlier design with lesser length. The design and development has been carried out by Pune-based DRDO laboratories — Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL).
The Enhanced Pinaka Mk-1 will eventually replace the Pinaka Mk-1 missiles, which are currently used by regiments of the Indian Army along India’s frontiers with China and Pakistan.
The test on Wednesday was in continuation of a number of missile trials conducted by the DRDO in the last two months. A total of 15 tests, over a vast spectrum of ranges and purposes, have been conducted during this period.
The Pinaka, a multi-barrel rocket-launcher (MBRL) system named after Shiva’s bow, can fire a salvo of 12 rockets over a period of 44 seconds. One battery of Pinaka system consists of six launch vehicles, accompanied by loader systems, radar and links with network-based systems and a command post. One battery can neutralise an area of 1 km by 1 km.
As a key tactic of long-range artillery battle, the launchers have to ‘shoot and scoot’ to ensure they themselves do not become the targets, especially being detectable due to its back blast.
The development of the Pinaka multi-barrel rocket systems was started by the DRDO in the late 1980s, as an alternative to the Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher systems of Russian make called like the ‘Grad’, which are still used by some regiments. After successful tests of Pinaka Mark-1 in the late 1990, it was first used successfully in the battlefield during the 1999 Kargil War. Subsequently, multiple regiments of the system came up over the 2000s.
While the Mark-1 has a range of 38 km, the enhanced version of Mark-1 tested on Wednesday has a range of 45 km and some key additional features.
DRDO has also developed and successfully tested the Mk-II and guided variants of the Pinaka, which has a range of around 60 km, while the Guided Pinaka system has a range of 75 km and has integrated navigation, control and guidance system to improve the end accuracy and enhance the range. The navigation system of Guided Pinaka missile is also aided by the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).
“A total of six rockets were launched in quick succession and the tests met complete mission objectives. Rockets tested have been manufactured by M/s Economic Explosives Limited, Nagpur, to whom the technology has been transferred. All the flight articles were tracked by range instruments such as telemetry, radar and Electro-Optical Tracking Systems which confirmed the flight performance,” read a DRDO statement about the test.
The test on Wednesday comes months after the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that its acquisition wing signed contracts with three Indian private companies for supply of six regiments of Pinaka Rocket System, to be deployed along borders with Pakistan and China. The MoD has said that the induction would be completed by 2024. These six Pinaka Regiments would comprise 114 Launchers with Automated Gun Aiming and Positioning System (AGAPS), 45 command posts and 330 vehicles.
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