Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag takes over as India's new Army Chief July 31 | Gen Bikram Singh, his predecessor, was given a warm ceremonial farewell | IAF Chief, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, takes over as Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) | IAF Receives its 6th Boeing C-17 Globemaster III | Most International flights to Israel suspended after a Hamas rocket lands a mile away from Ben Gurian airport | IATA to make a review announcement July 23 while Israeli Air Force says panic is unneeded | Israel says will respond to Hamas attacks with more intensity | Ben Gurian airport in Tel Aviv handles nearly 500 flights daily, and so far there is no hit | Airlines careful after Malaysian flight MH 17 was shot down by a powerful missile over Ukraine last week | Negotiations for Rafale aircraft acquisition are "on," says Indian Defence Minister Jaitley| Dassault's offer for ToT is also compliant to requirements, he said in Parliament July 22 | Notably, Air Chief Arup Raha had told India Strategic recently to expect an announcement "sooner than later" | Indian Budget 2014: Defence gets US$ 38 billion (Rs 229,000 crores) | Approx. $ 16 billion (Rs 95000 crores) should go towards overall modernisation and equipment | Finance (and Defence) Minister Arun Jaitley describes defence as a priority | Budget 2014 is higher by $ 4 billion over Budget 2013 | Welfare measures for military and paramilitary personnel also being strengthened | Defence acquisition procedures will be given speed, Jaitley saysFDI in Defence increased from 26% but limited to 49% | Limitation same for FDI in airlines, due to oppossition from Indian industrialists | Boeing, Emirates Finalize Order for 150 777Xs | US to sell 22 Harpoon Block II anti-shipping missiles to Indian Navy | India Puts Five Foreign Satellites in Space June 30 | Prime Minister Modi describes the Successful Launch as Global Endorsement of India's Space Capability | ISRO's PSLV rocket carried French, German, Canadian (two) and Singapore satellites | India has launched 40 foreign satellites to date since 1999 | India Decontrols Rules for Private Companies to make Defence Goods | Weapon Systsems like Aircraft, Tanks, Ships and Munitions will need Licences though | Indian Army's acquisition of 39 Boeing AH 64D Apaches also cleared | Indian Ministry of Defence in quick clearance mode for pending acquisition proposals | Defence Minister Arun Jaitley says armed forces will be given full support | US Air Force Awards Sikorsky $ 1.28 billion Contract to Develop New Combat Search & Rescue Helicopter | Lockheed Martin will fit major mission systems for the CSAR helicopter | New aircraft will be developed around Army's UH 60M Black Hawk stealthy variant used in Operation Geronimo | Total CSAR programme cost for 112 helicopters to touch $ 8 billion, says USAF | French Nexter ties with India's L&T and Ashok Leyland to make artillery guns for Indian Army | RUAG ties with Indian TASL to produce Dornier 228 NG for exports | TASL will initially make fuselages, and then possibly the full Dornier 228 - 212 NG aircraft | RUAG gives orders for 12 fuselages to Tata Advanced Systems Ltd | TASL also makes Sikorsky S 92 fuselages at Hyderabad in India | Boeing-led Missile Defense Team Achieves Intercept in Complex Exoatmospheric Flight Test | Boeing 737 MAX LEAP-1B Engine Begins Ground Testing | RUAG develops world's first Electronic Flare Simulator for testing and training |
 

DRDO fires on towards MIRV capability


 
 
By Gulshan Luthra Published: April 2013
 
 
 
   

New Delhi. India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is firing on in several directions with work at hand involving MIRVs (Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles) and improvements in missiles, aircraft, tanks and artillery.

 

DRDO Director General and Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister Dr VK Saraswat told India Strategic that in terms of range, the Indian scientists had achieved whatever was assigned by the Government (about 5,000 km) but the effort was now to develop the MIRV capability. “The building blocks from boosters to radars, seekers and sophisticated mission control centres are there.

” Dr Saraswat, who has just been awarded the country’s one of the highest achievement awards, the Padma Bhushan, said that DRDO had been able to develop key RF (Radio Frequency) seeker technologies for missiles in cooperation with Russia, and that in the last missile test, the seeker used was made in India. Digital processing in any case is based on DRDO’s own software.

Without the seekers, a missile would be an aimless vehicle.

The RF and IR (Infra Red) seekers are meant for proximity and precision engagement of targets, and both these technologies are required for the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) capability as well as all kinds of missiles. He did not give details but said that India was working on some seeker technologies with other countries also.

“Today, we are able to design and develop RF seekers, and in about a year or so, we will be independent in this key technology,” Dr Saraswat said in an interview with India Strategic.

As for an ABM shield, he said that DRDO had conducted four endo-atmospheric (within the atmosphere) and two exo-atmospheric (outside the atmosphere) missile interception tests and that all these six had been successful. “We certainly need more tests but we can say we have been successful in developing this capability.”

The last one, designated Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile, and fired on November 23, was in fact a hit-to-kill test.

So far, DRDO has mostly been working on proximity, near-miss or zero-miss acquisition of targets. With these systems, an ABM missile blows itself within a few meters of the targets – less than 9 meters. From now on, the effort is to develop the hit-to-kill capability by directly impacting hostile targets.

DRDO is working on Long Range and Medium Range missiles with Israel and for Short Range missiles with France.

But Dr Gupta pointed out that India was not working on an ASAT (Anti- Satellite) missile.

On radars, he disclosed that India had initially worked with the Israelis to acquire some technology and skills, but now, DRDO had made-in-India long range radars which can discern between aircraft, missiles and other flying objects. The ABM shield being developed has overlapping radar coverage as one cannot “allow any corridors for a missile to slip in.”

He said that DRDO is a technology developer and essentially, it is up to the industry – public and private – to build systems for the users, that is the armed forces.

For instance, after supplying 119 Arjun Mark-I tanks – the order initially was for 124 – DRDO is now developing the Arjun Mark-II, and nearly 80 percent of the improvements/changes sought by the Indian Army had already been incorporated. Work on the remaining features is underway and this summer, there would be trials to satisfy the user requirements.

The Arjun Mark-I has already outperformed the T-90, and the Mark-II would have enhanced night fighting capabilities with advanced equipment for the gunner, driver and commander. There will be better rough terrain and amphibious (fording) mobility, better surveillance and firing capability as well as increased protection.

An agreement is in place with the Army for another lot of 118 – or two regiments – of Arjun Mark II tanks. The Mark-II has a better 120 mm gun, capable of firing anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs).

DRDO was examining offers from Israel and Belarus for the new ATGMs. As for aircraft, Dr Saraswat said that he expected the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas to get the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) in 2014, and Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) within 2013. The aircraft is designed by DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and is to be manufactured by HAL as a 4-plus generation aircraft.

Effort is also on to further develop Rustam, DRDO’s unmanned aerial vehicle. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is keen for an armed version, or UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle).

Dr Saraswat said that DRDO was in talks with US Boeing for a transonic wind tunnel for supersonic aircraft testing. If the agreement comes through, it will help in easing the queuing problems in testing various systems.

The tunnel is being offered as part of offsets for Boeing aircraft that India is buying.

India has only one wind tunnel, a trisonic one, at the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) in Bangalore. Set up by NAL’s first director Dr P Nilakantan, it was commissioned in 1967, and is among the most-used facility of its kind in the world.

DRDO is also working on Artificial Intelligence and robotics. But that would take time. Nonetheless, he observed that in the coming decades, swarms of armed drones would be independently capable of doing big battles by themselves, and without any guidance or commands from their mission control centres.

The emphasis right now is to meet the immediate and foreseeable requirements of the Indian armed forces. “We give them inputs, take some inputs, discuss with them, and then plan what needs to be done,” Dr Saraswat said, adding: “We do have a DRDO Vision 2050 document” but DRDO makes its strategy based on the Long Term Integrated Perspective Plans of the armed forces.

 
  © India Strategic  
     
   
 
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