Thursday, June 13, 2024

India’s Homegrown Precision-Guided Munitions Make A Mark

By Aritra Banerjee

Homegrown precision-guided munitions (PGMs), developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), were unveiled at the 14th Aero India Expo in Bengaluru. The stand-off PGMs have been under development for nearly a decade, and several are set to be mass-produced by private companies under three categories of the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Defence Procurement Procedure’s (DPP) India designed, developed and made (IDDM) category.

Private-sector firms like the Kalyani Group, which maintains a joint venture with Israel’s RAFAEL Advanced Systems Ltd, are anticipated to be selected for mass production of the Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW), with MoD-owned Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) serving as the prime industrial contractor-cum-systems integrator. The approval for the bulk acquisition of the SAAW, worth Rs 970 crore ($131m), was granted by the MoD’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) on 28 September 2020.

Anti-Radiation Missiles In Production

R&D work on anti-radiation missiles (ARM) began in 2012, with the Defence R&D Laboratory (DRDL) leading the design and development of three types of ARMs. The first ARM, Rudram-1 NG-ARM, is entering series production by Adani Defence & Aerospace. With a maximum speed exceeding Mach 2 and a range of 150 km, Rudram-1 is equipped with a 60kg pre-fragmented warhead and a dual-pulsed rocket motor engine.

Bulk Production Of Long-Range Guided-Bomb Cleared

On 17 March, the MoD cleared the long-range guided-bomb ‘Gaurav’ for bulk production by Adani Defence & Aerospace Ltd. The bomb, which has a maximum gliding range of 80 km, will only be launched by Su-30MKIs. Similarly, the 550kg ‘Gautham’ glide-bomb will have a maximum range of 30 km, with both bombs having a circular error probable of less than 15 metres.

Cruise Missile Test-Firing Expected

BrahMos Weapon System; File Photo

The BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd, a joint venture between the DRDO and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya, plans to conduct the maiden test-firing of the BrahMos-NG supersonic cruise missile by late 2024. However, the hypersonic BrahMos-2K missile’s availability for India’s armed forces remains unclear due to Russia’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

Continuing R&D Work On Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile

The DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment continues R&D work on the Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile (ITCM), which has a range of 1,500 km. The latest test flight took place on 21 February, off the coast of Odisha, following a failed attempt last year due to technical issues with the indigenous Manik small turbofan engine. So far, four tests of the ITCM technology demonstrator have been conducted since 2020, with two failures and one partial success.

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