Articles, Blog

India’s Top 15 indigenous weapon systems & prospects


The Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System is
a 155 mm/52 calibre indigenous weapon system developed by DRDO’s ARDE with industry partners
namely Bharat Forge Limited and Tata Power SED, parallel development is there to cut
delays. Bharat Forge has developed and provided diverse inputs in design, manufacture and
development while Tata Power SED has provided the automotive system, understructure assembly
automation, breech system, recoil system and fixed firing stand. ATAGS has excellent accuracy,
consistency, mobility, reliability and automation and is capable of achieving 48+ km range.
The Army, based on Kargil and other experiences, listed out the tactical field requirements
they had from a Howitzer, ATAGS was developed from scratch to meet the field requirements.
The secret of the ATAGS for world beating longer range is its larger chamber of 25 litres.
The system is configured with all electric drive technology for the first time in the
world that will ensure maintenance free and reliable operation over longer periods of
time. The ATAGS is the world�s only gun with a six-round �automated magazine�
that fires a six-round burst in just 30 seconds, rate of firing is 30 rounds within 60 minutes.
After the gun successfully completes development and firing trials, the army is likely to procure
at least 2,000 ATAGS. Meanwhile Kalyani Group had announced Bharat 155mm/39 Ultra Light
Long Range Howitzer weighing 4500 kgs will be developed using lightweight expensive materials
like Titanium and Aluminium alloys and will have performance similar to M777 Howitzers. Cannon Launched Guided Missile can be fired
from both Arjun MBT as well as can be lugged around by soldiers while Nag on other hand
is incompatible with the Arjun Tank, & is much too heavy to function as a man portable
anti-tank system. Instrumented development flight tests were conducted from tripod launcher,
dynamic performance of propulsion system was satisfactory. Ballistic range>6 km was achieved,
mid-course guidance capability has been successfully tested. Main High explosive anti-tank (HEAT)
warhead tested against rolled homogeneous armour (RHA) and a consistent penetration
of>750mm were achieved. A gimbaled laser seeker with a seeking range of ~2km has been
developed and flight tested. The DRDO SAMHO is an infantry portable variant of the DRDO
CLGM. The missile operates via semi-active laser homing SACLOS guidance, wherein the
operator of the launch post or a third party paints the target with the laser designator
and the missile seeker homes in onto the painted target. There is an agreement between India
and US that calls for the joint development and production of the next-generation MPATGM
that will use thermobaric-HEDP and tandem shaped-charge warheads optimised for high-altitude
warfare and anti-armour engagements. In reality, the MPATGM has been under development since
2009 by the DRDL, with VEM Technologies being responsible for product engineering development. Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon is a long-range,
precision guided Air to Surface weapon weighs around 125-150 kgs with range of 120 km, intended
for Jaguar, Su-30 MKI and will be extended to Rafale. The smart bomb is indeed the first
hundred per cent ‘Made in India’ weapon. Unguided test-launches of the SAAW from a Jaguar were
first conducted at Pokhran in May 2015 to validate the weapons release/pylon ejection
mechanisms, while the first powered test-flight was conducted on December 23, 2016. India
became first country to successfully tested such weapon, US is the only other country
in the process of developing these kind of precision-guided glide bombs, but has failed
to successfully test the same. In addition, its high explosive warhead with deep penetration
capabilities can easily destroy even the steel reinforced concrete runways and make it impossible
for the enemy aircraft to even take off while being controlled from the cockpit. Both the
IAF and IN have a stated requirement for 500 SAAWs. DRDO-designed QR-SAM missile uses solid fuel
propellant and can engage multiple targets within a range from 3 km to 30 km in azimuth
and 30 m to 6 km in altitude. The missile can engage aircraft at 500m/s at 20 km and
300m/s at 30 km, along with helicopters and UAVs. The missile also has terminal guidance
using an RF seeker. The system has AESA radar with X-band Quad Transmit Reciever Modules
(QTMs), Two Way Data Link (TWDL) and IFF. the Battery Surveillance Radar (BSR) has a
range up to 120 km and the Multi-Function Fire Control Radar (BMFR) has a tracking range
of up to 80 km. High Mobility Vehicle also has NBC system installed which ensures reliable
protection of the crew and internal equipment against mass destruction weapons. The QR-SAM
uses a surface-launched version of the Astra-1 BVRAAM and it will use a Ku-band seeker developed
by the DRDO�s RCI and produced by VEM Technologies. The target detection and engagement radars
are being developed by the DRDO�s LRDE laboratory, while overall systems integration is the responsibility
of BEL. Indian Navy also has requirements for large quantity of VL-QRSAM as a replacement
for Barak-1. An addition of Cruise Missile Defence System and QR-SAMs will certainly
complicate Pakistan equation of using Tactical nuclear weapons within its own territory,
the risk of a high casualty of its own civilians and India launching full-scale Nuclear retaliation
will play high if India is able to effectively counter Nasr. The Nirbhay is a 1000 kilometer class subsonic
LACM designed to fly at subsonic speeds to neutralise targets of interest deep inside
the adversary�s territory. This project was conceived back in 2003 as a ground-launched
cruise missile (GLCM) and air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) for the Indian Air Force and
as a warship-launched/submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) for the Indian Navy. The missile
can travel at different altitudes, it is said to have designed to fly as low as 10m to avoid
detection. During tests it has been flown at the altitude of 4800 m and gradually bringing
down to 20m. The missile maintained an accuracy better than 10 meters throughout it’s path
and covered a distance of more than 1000 km. It has an inertial guidance system and it
can carry 24 different types of Warheads including a nuclear one. One unique feature if thus
missile, what I like is it said to be capable of loitering. That means it can go round about
the target manoeuvre like an aircraft and reengage and can pick out a target. This cost-effective
weapon delivery platform has been granted a 16-month development extension despite failing
in tests for the fourth time. At the peak of the 1999 Kargil conflict a
new secret weapon entered action for the very first time, the Pinaka multi-barrelled rocket
launcher (MBRL) became the first Indian prototype weapon to be used in actual combat. This has
never been revealed until now nor the fact that Pakistani mortar fire wounded a young
DRDO scientist who was operating the Pinaka. Like a soldier, he continued firing until
that operation was over. Pinaka are free-flight rockets that follow a ballistic path while
each guided Pinaka rocket has an on-board computer calculating its flight trajectory
and location, using the US GPS, the Russian GLONASS or the Indian GAGAN — whichever
is most convenient. When the rocket deviates from its desired trajectory, aerodynamic canards
on the rocket body are manipulated to bring it back on track. In the two tests conducted
so far, the guided Pinaka has struck targets over 60 km away with an accuracy of 25 metres.
The Pinaka rocket delivers 100 kilograms of high explosive onto the target. Each Pinaka
launcher has 12 rockets in its tubes, which can all be fired within 44 seconds. Induction
of 22 Pinaka Mark I regiments into the army at a cost of Rs 61,000 crore, of these, two
are already in service, two more contracted, and another 10 cleared by the Cabinet Committee
on Security. DRDO also has taken up development of Pinaka 2 which will have a range of 90-120
km and will have the ability to carry 250kgs high explosive to its targets. Akash can fly at supersonic speeds ranging
from Mach 2.8 to 3.5, and can engage aerial targets up to a range of approximately 25km
and at altitudes up to 18km. The SAM can carry a high-explosive,pre-fragmented nuclear warhead
of 60kg. The Rajendra radar can detect 100 targets and track 64 of them, while simultaneously
engaging eight of them at the same time. The Akash is powered by Ramjet-rocket propulsion
system which renders thrust for the missile to intercept the target at supersonic speed
without any retardation. The fully-automated Akash Mk1 has an 88% kill probability within
a specified kill zone and has even intercepted a target with a 0.02 square-metre radar cross-section.
The Akash system protects a moving procession of vehicles using an electronic counter countermeasures
(ECCM) system. Akash was also tested in a ballistic missile role and offers air defence
missile coverage of 2,000km2. In production (8 Squadron for Air force, two regiments for
Army); 8 squadron order pending on price negotiation with BEL. Akash NG in development, active
seekers, 50km range with 10 targets engage. MK1S program in development, technology insertion
for Akash Mk1 program with active seekers. NAMICA is a modified BMP-2 ICV produced as
�Sarath� in India. The carrier weights 14.5 tonnes in full combat load and is capable
of moving 7 km/h in water. DRDO re-engineer the NAMICA-1 by incorporating a commander�s
panoramic target acquisition/lock-on sensor/ Undaunted and developed the NAMICA-2. NAMICA-2�destined
for equipping the Recce & Support Battalions of the Indian Army�s Mechanised Infantry
formations (especially when undertaking river-crossing operations)�can carry 12 Nag ATGMs, with
six of them in ready-to-fire mode out to a distance of 4km. The ATGM has a flight speed
of 230 metres per second, is armed with a 8kg tandem shaped-charge warhead, has a rocket
motor using nitramine-based smokeless extruded double base sustainer propellant, has a single-shot
hit probability of 0.77 and a CEP of 0.9 metres, and has a 10-year maintenance-free shelf-life.
On paper, the Indian Army remains committed to the procurement of 443 Bharat Dynamics
Ltd-built third-generation Nag fire-and-forget ATGMs along with 13 OFB Medak-built NAMICA-2
tracked ATGM launchers. Presently under development is the helicopter-launched version of the
Nag, known as HELINA, can reach up to 7 km. The HELINA, using the �Rudrastra� cannister-encased
twin-launcher system, will arm both the �Rudra� helicopter-gunships as well as the LCH attack
helicopters of both the IA & IAF. Under development is a DRDO-developed active fire-and-forget,
adverse-weather millimeter wave (MMW) radar sensor for a 15km-range version of the HELINA.
However, the R & D cycle of this ATGM is unlikely to be completed by 2019 at the very latest,
and consequently, the IA�s initial 60 HAL-developed �Rudra� helicopter-gunships will in all
probability be armed with up to 960 HELINAs equipped with LWIR sensors. Varunastra, a versatile naval weapon which
can be fired from Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) ships is capable of targeting quiet and stealthy
submarines both in deep and littoral waters even in intense countermeasure atmosphere.
Variant of Varunastra HWT for operation from Submarine is dubbed �Takshak� which are
wire guided torpedoes which require constant communication between the torpedo and the
firing ship. If the wire does breaks, Takshak becomes an autonomous torpedo like its ship-launched
variant and can travel up to a distance of 40 km for taking out submarines and can operate
up to a depth of 400 m. Takshak HWT nearly weighing a tonne each contains 250 kg of explosives
can travel at a speed of 40 knots an hour, going in circles and bobbing up and down to
attack targets. Takshak warhead has a proximity fuse, with the blast occurring about 8 m from
the target. Ring Laser Gyro INS guidance and GPS based locating aid enables it to take
the optimum path towards the target. Advancement in electric motor design and the battery will
see the use of 300 KWs AgO-Zn batteries while Varunastra has an electric propulsion system
with multiple 250 KWs AgO-Zn batteries. While there is also DRDO-NSTL Shakti thermal HWTs
in development which runs on monopropellant fuel, can generate 400kW of power and enable
the Shakti to move at faster speeds (almost double that of an electric torpedo) and at
depths of up to 600 metres. The Astra is a single-stage solid-propellant
missile that is 3.57 m long and 178 mm in diameter, with a 154 kg launch weight and
a 15 kg conventional explosive payload. The missile has been designed to be capable of
engaging high-speed targets at short range (up to 20 km in tail chase mode) and long
range (up to 80 km in head-on chase mode). At sea level it has a range of up to 20 km
but could have a range of 44 km from an altitude of 8,000 m and 80 km if launched from an altitude
of 15,000 m. The missile is fitted with a single-pulse rocket motor with smokeless HTPB
propellant. It can engage a target flying at Mach 3 at 25,000 m or a target flying Mach
1.2 at sea level. DRDO sources said the missile had a Ku-band RF active seeker with a maximum
range of 15 km against a target with a radar cross section of 5 m2. The missile has an
off-bore sight capability of �45�. The superb maneuverability of Astra is yet another
significant factor that will make it a valuable asset. Astra has been designed to carry out
maneuvers involving forces exceeding 30g. Astra BVRAAM, therefore, offers high overall
reliability and a high �Single Shot Kill Probability � SSKP�. It is difficult to
track this missile as its on-board electronic counter-measures jam signals from the enemy
radars. The ECCM (electronic counter-counter measure) features of the missile make it able
to overcome almost any kind of jamming. The DRDO confirmed that an improved Astra derivative,
the Astra Mk II (Astra 2), was in development with a new dual-pulse solid rocket motor that
was claimed to more than double the missile’s optimum range to 150 km and tail-chase range
to around 35 km. Prithvi 3 is a solid propellant, short-range,
road-mobile, ballistic missile that started development in 2000. The Prithvi-3 is two
stage solid propulsion system whereas Dhanush has two stage liquid and solid propulsion
system. Dhanush has a tested range of around 350 kilometre where it can carry a payload
of 1,000 kilograms. It can also carry a 500-kilogram warhead for 600 kilometres and a 250-kilogram
warhead for 750 kilometres. The missile is equipped with manoeuvre thrusters for lateral
acceleration. The warhead include Nuclear 10-20 kT,HE,Submunitions. PAD can engage the
ballistic missiles (300km-2,000km range) at a speed of Mach 5, have a maximum interception
altitude of 80km. The missiles will get intercepted at range of more than 100 km away so that
damage to our cities can be prevented. The warhead weighed only around 30 kilograms but
will generate the impact of a 150 kilogram omni-directional warhead could make. The entire
system is fully automated and human intervention is not needed for activation. The Prahaar Missile system is developed to
provide Indian Army a cost effective, quick reaction, all weather, all terrain, high accurate
battle field support tactical system. The missile fills the short-range tactical battlefield
missile role as required by the IA and IAF to take out strategic and tactical targets.
The Missile can be launched within 2-3 minutes without any preparation ,providing significantly
better reaction time than any other liquid Fuelled missiles. The missile can be propelled
by using solid propellant. Its airframe is derived from the Mach 4 AAD-1 endo-atmospheric
ballistic missile interceptor. It can have a operational range of 150 km and flight altitude
of 35 km. It is capable of carrying various types of conventional warhead of approximately
200 Kg.The average speed of missile is Mach 2.03, it can cover its full range in just
250 seconds and have accuracy of less than 10m. Prahaar is very hard to be intercepted
by anti-air defence systems and can be useful at every stage of a Cold Start campaign. THE
STATUS OF DEPLOYMENT HAS TILL NOW, NOT BEEN REVEALED. IT WAS DECLARED OPERATIONAL LONG
BACK. The Pragati missile based on the Prahaar missile is developed by the DRDO for the Army
and can be termed as its export variant with minor differences. AAD is a single-stage missile powered by solid
propellants delivering high specific impulse values. AAD endo-atmospheric interceptor can
intercept targets at altitudes between 15 to 25 km. In the course of flight, AAD achieves
high supersonic speeds and the efficacy of its thermal protection systems as well that
of its actuation system has been demonstrated repeatedly. Long Range Tracking Radar LRTR
used in today�s AAD mission is an L-band array that can track a ballistic target with
a radar cross section (RCS) of 0.1 sqm from over 1500 km away. Multi-function Fire Control
Radar MFCR, which is a S-band array has a tracking range of over 370 km for a target
with a RCS of 0.3 sqm. Both radars are capable of variable track rates. PDV replaces the
PAD ABM interceptor, PAD was essentially a high endo-atmospheric system with a ceiling
of around 85 km, PDV is a true blue exo-atmospheric interceptor capable of destroying targets
at altitudes of up to 150 km. This puts PDV in a different category in terms of its navigation
set-up and homing seeker capability. Instead of sporting a radio frequency (RF) seeker
like PAD, PDV uses a strap-down IIR seeker developed by DRDO�s RCI with a 128 x 128
focal plane array. Phase-1 of India�s BMD program which is designed to provide credible
capability against theatre ballistic missiles (TBM) launched from up to 2000 km away. PDV
is actually a predecessor to another exo-atmospheric interceptor currently under development that
can neutralize RVs at altitudes of over 300 km. Taken together this means that India has
all the elements in place for a direct ascent counter space system that can potentially
be used for anti-satellite purposes. Shaurya is a two stage missile like any normal
cruise missile. It is stored in canisters which not just makes it easier to store for
longer period without maintenance but also makes it less detectable to spying satellites.
It also makes it’s deployment easy. Shaurya is launched vertically. It is ejected from
it’s canisters with the help of a gas generator and then It’s solid boosters hurl it upwards
up to almost 50 km in sky. Then it’s second stage begins. It flies like a hypersonic missile
flying almost parallel to ground. It should be noted that Shaurya is a hypersonic missile
and its speed is around Mach 7.5. During its last leg of deployment of warhead Shaurya
rapidly decrease its altitude and spins around itself making it almost impossible for any
SAM to intercept it. Shourya class of missile is truly a multi-services missile that has
desirable attributes of small size, mobility, stealth, rich set of warhead options, robustness
and cost. Shourya and Sagarika share a common design. Sagarika has a length of 10.8 m, a
body diameter of 0.8 m, and a launch weight of 5,500 to 6,300 kg. The payload can be HE
or nuclear with a weight of 1000 kg. The missile is powered by two stage solid fuelled rocket
motors. The Sagarika has a maximum range of 700 km.Its range can be extended up to 1900km
with 180 kg payload. INS Arihant is equipped with 12 launch tubes designed to launch the
B-05 SLBM. Now DRDO has been asked to fast track development of a Naval variant of Cruise
Hybrid Shaurya Missile which will have true �Carrier-Killer� potentials and also will
be first missile system developed specifically for taking down Aircraft Carriers. Agni-5 ICBM is three stage solid fuelled missile
with the composite motor casing in the second an third stage. It takes its first stage from
Agni-III, with a modified second stage and a miniaturised third stage to ensure it can
fly to distances of 5,000-8,000 km. With composites used extensively to reduce weight and a third
stage added on,the Agni-V can fly significantly more to inter-continental range. The Missile
can hit the target at the speed of Mach 24(29,635 km/h) with the accuracy of less than 10m.
K-4 Mk-1 SLBM is sea borne AGNI-III missile capable of carrying 4 MIRV of 500 kgs 1.3m
diameter to around 4000 km. While K-5 Mk-2 based on AGNI-V is capable of carrying 6 MIRV
of 500 kgs 2m diameter to 5000 km range, can be extend to 6000 km if using unitary warhead.
K-4 is arming INS Arihant & Aridhaman while K-5 will be arming later heavier S5 class
subs. AGNI-VI with ability to carry 10 MIRV is in final stages along with sea version
K6. A range of 8000-10000 km is expected, to be green lighted for testing within next
year. Meanwhile Agni-1P equipped with cutting-edge technologies developed for the Agni-4 and
Agni-5 missiles will replace the old Prithvi & Agni-1 missiles and have a range of 300-700
kilometres.

1 thought on “India’s Top 15 indigenous weapon systems & prospects

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *