Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is free from jail after six year । Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who holds additional charge of Defence, elected President of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) । He succeeds Mr Manohar Parikkar who resigned to take over as Chief Minister of Goa recently। Hardeep Singh Puri appointed Chairman of the Research and Information System for Developing Countries । Mr Puri is former Indian Envoy to the UN in New York and Geneva । FBI investigating possible Russian interference in 2016 US presidential election, Director Comey confirms । He told House Intelligence Committee there is no evidence of President Obama ordering wiretap of Trump during the election campaign । President Trump has made several allegations against his predecessor, which the powerful heads of FBI and NSA have denied । Finance Minister Arun Jaitley assumes additional charge as Defence Minster । Jaitley replaces Manohar Parrikar who has moved to Goa to head the State’s Government as Chief Minster । BRAHMOS Extended Range (ER) missile successfully test-fired । Prime Minister greets CISF on its 48th Raising Day । INS Tillanchang Commissioned into Indian Navy । INS Tillanchang was commissioned by FOC-in-C Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Girish Luthra at Karwar । India Strategic salutes the humanity on this International Women’s Day । Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju dedicates first integrated heliport to the nation । Ms. DR Doley Barman appointed Director of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad । 1992 batch IFS officer Gopal Baglay appointed MEA Spokesperson । He replaces Vikas Swarup, who has been appointed Indian High Commissioner to Canada । Raytheon, Tata Advanced Systems to Co-produce Stinger Missile Components । Indian Navy Concludes First Contract under Buy and Make (Indian) Category । Contract signed between Nova Integrated Systems Ltd (NISL), a TASL subsidiary, and Indian Navy for procurement of Surface Surveillance Radars (SSRs) । NISL to indigenously manufacture these state-of-the-art radars in collaboration with Terma, Denmark । ISRO creates history; launches 104 satellites in one go । President, Vice President and Prime Minister congratulated ISRO and its scientists for the historic mission । Indian Navy to decommission aircraft carrier INS Viraat on March 6 । India to spend Rs 2,74,114 crore on Defence । Rs 85,737.31 crore will be spent on equipment acquisition । Russia formally enters IAF’s second round of MMRCA competition । Moscow offers a new MiG-35 variant under Make in India । Alexander M Kadakin, who served as the Russian Ambassador to India for over a dozen years, passed away after a brief illness in New Delhi on Thursday, January 26, 2017. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled Kadakin’s death calling him a “great friend of India.” । India Strategic wishes everyone Happy Republic Day । President Pranab Mukherjee takes salute at the beautiful Republic Day Parade in New Delhi । UAE Crown Prince Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed is the Chief Guest at India’s R-Day celebrations । A highlight of the Parade is also the participation of a UAE armed forces contingent । Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti to pay tributes to martyrs । The impressive Parade began with a 21-gun salute to the President, the Supreme Commander of the Indian armed forces । India’s anti-terror force, National Security Guard (NSG) made its debut in the Parade । Dressed in their patent black, NSG commandos jogged passed the saluting base with their faces covered । US President Donald Trump called Prime Minister Narendra Modi late on January 24 । The telephone call is indicative of the vital nature of the India-US strategic partnership between the two countries । Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan arrives in New Delhi । Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, was received by PM Modi । Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed is the Chief Guest of Republic Day 2017 । Government extends Foreign Secretary Dr S Jaishankar’s tenure by one year । The extension to be effective between Jan 29, 2017 and Jan 28, 2018 । Pravind Kumar Jugnauth takes over as Mauritius Prime Minister । Prime Minister Modi congratulated the newly-appointed Mauritian PM । Donald Trump takes over as US President । Promises transfer of power to people । Turkish Boeing 747 cargo plane crashes in Kyrgyzstan with 37 onboard; all killed । Astronaut Gene Cernan, 82, the last man to walk on moon, passes away । India marks Army Day । President, Prime Minister and Defence Minister greet the Army । Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat takes salute at the impressive Army Day Parade । Gen Rawat says India wants peace but if attempts are made to disrupt it, then “we will display our power” । He says emphasis is on newer technology weapons and systems for the Army । Space connectivity is also high on Army’s agenda । This is the 69th Army Day, marking the time when an Indian Chief, Gen KM Cariappa took over the command after Independence । Indian Navy launches its second Kalvari class submarine INS Khanderi in Mumbai । India Strategic wishes all its readers and viewers a very Happy New Year । India successfully test fires Agni 5 long range missile | IAF gets Government approval for one more C 17 strategic Lift aircraft | IAF has got 10 C 17s, but had initially planned for more than 20 | Lack of timely approval made IAF slash figure to three but by then Boeing closed factory | IAF will get the last one in production | Syrian government of President Assad takes full control of Aleppo | Lt Gen Bipin Rawat appointed the next Army Chief and Air Marshal BS Dhanoa the Air Chief | The appointments are effective December 31 afternoon | Both are Vice Chiefs of Staff at present in their respective Services | 48 killed in a PIA ATR-42 aircraft crash in Pakistan | The twin-engine propellor aircraft was on way from Chitral to Islamabad | India marks Navy Day | Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets all Navy personnel, and salutes their bravery on Indian Navy annual day | PM Modi, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani jointly inaugurate Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference at Amritsar (India) Dec 4 | Need of the hour is to identify terrorism and bring stability in the region, says PM Modi | India’s commitment to Afghan is absolute, Mr Modi said addressing 6th HoA Ministerial Conf | Afgan Prez accused Pakistan of sheltering terror, and thanked India of financial aid | HoA Conf began at Amritsar Dec 3 | INS Vikrant likely to be operational in 2018 | Vikrant to operate both Russian MiG-29K and Western origin Aircraft | Indian Navy to mark 2017 as the year of submarine: Adm Lanba class=”gap”>| Gujarat-cadre officer Rakesh Asthana to take over as CBI Director after Anil Sinha, who retires Dec 2 | Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is Pakistan’s new army chief | Gen Bajwa took over from Gen Raheel Sharif Nov 29 | The outgoing chief stressed all should work together “against external and internathreats” | Plane carrying Brazilian football team crashes in Colombia | Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro dies. He was 90. | Castro had challenged the US might and invited Soviet presence next door to the US | US-Cuban relations have normalized now after half a century | Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Commissions INS Chennai into Indian Navy Nov 21 | INS Chennai is a Project 15A Guided Missile Destroyer | This is the 3rd and last ‘Kolkata’ class destroyer indigenously designed by DND and constructed by MDL, Mumbai | India successfully tests nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile in Odisha | India becomes associate member of European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Geneva | Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar inducts four Indigenous Naval Systems | The 4 Indigenous Naval Systems – ABHAY, HUMSA UG, NACS and AIDSS – were indigenously developed by DRDO | These Indigenous Naval Systems will boost underwater surveillance capability of the Indian Navy | India, Japan sign Civil Nuclear Deal | The Deal signed during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan Nov 10-11 | With this Deal, Japan is able to export N-technology to India for peaceful uses | PM Modi calls the Deal “a historic step to build a clean energy partnership between India, Japan” |
March 25, 2017
Follow us on

Smart Weapons

Expensive but Cost Effective Solution for the IAF
By Air Marshal AK Trikha (Retd)

NEW DELHI. In an era of already prohibitive and still escalating cost of tools of warfare, and competing demands on limited defence budgets, it is necessary to carefully calculate what delivers the most bang for the buck. Costs are particularly awe inspiring in aerial systems. Most modern combat platforms carry price tags upwards of hundreds of millions of dollars. In addition to the very high initial price tag, the real cost of ownership has also to reckon with costs on account of maintenance and infrastructure requirements. Coupled to the exorbitant cost of platforms, increasing density and lethality of air defences also has to be reckoned with. To achieve balance between risk inherent in exposing extremely expensive and therefore limited assets (not excluding the aircrew) to highly lethal environment, and the benefits thereof, it is necessary that each mission be optimised for maximum effect. Applied to strike aircraft, it implies that weapons must be perfectly matched to the target characteristics and applied with utmost precision to hit the bull’s eye each time. Precision permits iniaturisation which in turn enables carriage of many more weapons within a specified load limit – thus making it possible to engage multiple targets in a single mission. In addition to precision, weapon should be employable in all weather conditions by day and night, from outside the lethal envelope of opposing surface-to-air weapons and should also be able to defeat enemy’s attempts to interfere with its trajectory. A weapon encapsulating all these attributes would be ultra smart.

From first use of smart weapons as early as during WWII, (Germans used 1,400-kg Fritz X to successfully attack the Italian battleship Roma in 1943), technology has advanced sufficiently to make all the above desirable attributes achievable. However each increment in capability comes at a substantially increased price. A cursory survey of weaponry currently in use would reveal the wide variety of choices available and the consequent necessity of careful assessment in order to equip for the widest spectrum of capabilities within the constraints of a restricted budget.


The best known and most widely adopted route to conversion of dumb bombs into smart ones is through laser guidance – typified by the Paveway series. Laser Guided Bomb or LGB made its operational debut in May 1972 when USAF demonstrated its potential in a spectacular raid on the Thanh Hoa bridge, 15 miles South of Hanoi. US Navy and Air Force had flown 871 sorties over six years, losing 11 aircraft in an unsuccessful effort to put the bridge permanently out of commission. Then in a single raid of fourteen fighter bombers carrying LGBs demolished the bridge by scoring direct hits on the supporting piers.

All laser-guided bombs work essentially the same way, relying on the target being illuminated by a laser
target designator either from the ground or carried onboard an aircraft.

Paveway route to converting dumb free fall gravity bombs into smart ones is in its essence relatively simple because it requires no airframe or electrical modification to the mother aircraft. The conversion kit which is attachable to a variety of existing warheads consists of a guidance module comprising a semi active laser seeker, guidance and control electronics, a thermal battery and pneumatic control augmentations system. Control canards and rear wings provide stability and a limited manoeuvre capability to guide the bomb to the target within the ballistic reach of the weapon.

Based essentially on this operating principle, a family of Paveway laser-guidance units has been developed incorporating performance enhancements along the way. Paveway II system built on an improved seeker and the weapon release range was extended by adding foldable wings atthe rear which give the weapon some glide performance.

Paveway III employs an even more sophisticated seeker with a wider field of view. Instead of constantly adjusting trajectory to align itself with the target as in Paveway II, this version uses proportional navigation technique which extracts lesser energy thus giving the bomb considerably longer glide range. It is also much more accurate. However the improvements come with so much higher cost that its employability has been restricted to specialised high value weapons only.

Laser guidance suffers in conditions of poor visibility due to difficulty of target illumination. To overcome this shortcoming both Paveway II as well as Paveway III were enhanced to accommodate a GPS aided Inertial Navigation in its guidance system which makes them usable in all weather conditions.

Paveway IV in service with the RAFintroduces air burst fuzing option in the Computer Control Group of enhanced Paveway II and Paveway III series. It also features resistance to jamming of the GPS receiver.

Arrival of mil grade GPS has ushered a virtual revolution in technology of precision targeting. JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Ammunition) and Joint Stand-off Weapon (JSOW) are prime examples of this era. JDAM is also a bolt on package in the same mould as the Paveway series. Its guidance package consists of a tightly coupled INS unit/GPS receiver which gives it an accuracy of 10 meters. In the event of GPS signal being lost, INS can still guide the weapon to within 100 ft of the target. By doing away with the necessity of laser designation of a target (like in Paveway kits) JDAM achieves all weather, day and night, fire and forget status. To engage mobile targets, a version of JDAM carries a link 16 receiver through which it can receive continuous updates of target position. JDAM has been enhanced further by addition of a laser target seeker which enables Laser JDAM to achieve pin point accuracy. Using the same GPS/INS mode of guidance, JSOW is a low signature glide bomb intended for release from outside point defences of the target system. Its aerodynamic profile enables it to achieve standoff distances in excess of 100 Km. Some versions are also fitted with terminal imaging Infra -red seekers to improve accuracy of impact.


Paveway makes conventional bomb smart. Precision guidance has also been applied to weapons other than iron bombs using a variety of guidance technologies. The Raytheon Maverick air to ground missile among its various marks employs electro-optical (AGM-65A), imaging infra-red (AGM-65D), and laser homing (AGM-65E) guidance systems. The first two, by guiding themselves based on the visual orIR scene of the target, are fire-and-forget in that the pilot can release the weapon and manoeuvre to exit the target area while the weapon guides itself to the target without any further input.


After decades of waiting, IAF (Indian Air Force) is finally set to receive delivery of first of the 36 Rafale jets
in a few years time. In an order worth $8.85 billion, nearly $800m have been set aside for additional weapons package. For air superiority missions, METEOR beyond the visual range (BVR) and MICA Close Combat AAMs would undoubtedly be a part of the agreed weapons package. For the strike role, there would be an option to choose amongst the most sophisticated weapons available anywhere. The aircraft has 13 hard points on which it can carry 9 tonnes of external load of various types. Considering the very limited numbers, there is no doubt that it will be employed for very specialised missions.

French route to conversion of dumb bombs has been through add-on kits called AASM (also called ‘HAMMER’). Basic version incorporates INS/GPS guidance while the more advanced variants add IR imaging or laser guidance to increase accuracy. Rare mounted aerodynamic range extension and conrol surfaces provide stand-off capability ranging from some 15 Km at low level to 55 Km when released from high altitude. The kit is modular and can be adapted to a variety of bomb bodies.

SCALP is a more specialised precision weapon for employment against hardened high value targets in depth. It is a long range, standoff attack, cruise missile with a range of approx 300 Km. It is all weather, fire and forget weapon which navigates to the target at low level guided by GPS and terrain mapping data pre-programmed in its memory. Once in the target’s vicinity, it climbs to height to achieve optimum strike angle and to precisely identify the programmed impact point through its IR sensors using Digital Scene Matching Area Correlator (DSMAC) concept. The warhead is designed to penetrate several inches of concrete before activation of fuze to detonate the main warhead.

The brief survey in this article of the variety of weapons in current use serves to highlight the reality that precision guided munitions are no longer in the realm of the exotic. In fact risks to mission success imposed by lethality and density of air defence weapons suggests that dumb weapons may have already gone past their ‘Use By’ dates. However the wide array of impressive capabilities built into smart weapons also carry a high price tag.

Therefore, it has become all the more necessary to evaluate and shortlist target systems tightly related to defined outcomes as a part of overall strategy. Basic technologies involved in conversion of dumb to smart weapons are neither secret nor are beyond the ken of indigenous talent. Focus and intensification of R&D effort to get to grips with detail can create national manufacturing base to fulfill the need for a sizeable guided munitions inventory to meet the likely demand for a short sharp conflict.



Indian Army Strikes Terrorist Camps in POK

New Delhi. India struck seven terrorists camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir on September 28, ten...


India Successfully Launches 20 Satellites in Single Flight

Sriharikota/New Delhi. In its 36th flight ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C34 successfully launched the...


IMS logo