The Indigenous Pinaka rocket system of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), known for firing a salvo of 12 rockets in just 44 seconds, is being evolved into a precision-guided missile, with enhanced range and accuracy to hit its targets. The missile, which has completed the initial trial, will undergo developmental trials next month and is expected to be delivered to the Army in two years, said senior DRDO scientists.
The initial version of the Pinaka rocket was further developed into Pinaka Mark II, which has an enhanced range of 70 to 80 km compared to Mark I, with a range of 40 km. The rocket has been developed by the Armament cluster of the DRDO, with a lead from Pune-based Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE). Along with ARDE, the High Energy Material Research Laboratory in Pune and two DRDO establishments in Hyderabad have contributed to the development.
Speaking about the development of the Guided Pinaka Mark II, ARDE Director K M Rajan said, “Pinaka is originally a 30 to 40 km range rocket… in subsequent developments, the range was increased. But with the increased range, the user, the Army, wanted it to be more accurate. So, the guided version of the Pinaka is currently being developed and the first demonstration has taken place one year ago. In the maiden trial, we have been able to achieve a 75 km range with a five metre accuracy. We feel it is phenomenal. Next month, we will be going for a series of developmental trials of the guided Pinaka. The project duration is three years. We have already completed one year and are on time. We can expect the induction of the Guided Pinaka into the armed forces in the next two years.”
On the various trials to be conducted on Guided Pinaka, Rajan said, “Initially, there are ground-level trials for the evaluation of the propulsion. Once those parameters are met, we go for instrumental flight trials… we will see if the performance is as per our prediction and subsequently, if fine-tuning is needed, that will be done. Then there will be actual ground trials at Pokhran. After we are satisfied with all the aspects, the user, which is the Artillery, will be invited for independent evaluation. If that is cleared, we will go for production.”
P K Mehta, director general of Armament and Combat Engineering Systems, DRDO, said, “We also need to understand why the Guided Pinaka is important. What we always want is to avoid any collateral damage. Pinaka is a rocket system that has been developed to nullify a particular area. We are now trying to work out a missile from a rocket. We have a set pattern of trials. One is internal trials, then user-assisted technical trials and then user trial. The parameters, which make Pinaka a guided missile, will be evaluated in these trials. Pinaka per se has already been tested. But the guided Pinaka will be a very small number compared to the entire inventory of the Pinaka.”
While Pinaka Mark I had been used in the 1999 Kargil conflict, the guided version follows the policy of the Indian Army to use precision weapons. “The rocket has been named after Pinaka, the bow of Lord Shiva. The Pinaka system is like a quiver of 12 rockets. But the guided version serves a different purpose. In future, the Pinaka and Guided Pinaka will co-exist in the proportion that the user wants. Pinaka will continue as a weapon that can destroy an area and the guided version will add an edge to it when a specific target has to be hit,” said a DRDO scientist.
By: Indian Express
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