BHUBANESWAR: Continuing the weapon testing spree amid a face-off with China along the LAC, India on Wednesday successfully test-fired an extended range version of indigenously developed Pinaka rocket from a test facility off Odisha coast.

Developed by the Pune-based Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), the rocket was test-fired from a multi-barrel rocket launcher (MBRL) at the Integrated Test Range (ITR).

The enhanced range version of the weapon can destroy targets at a distance beyond 45 km. “Six rockets were launched in quick succession and the tests met all the mission objectives. All the flight articles were tracked by range instruments, including telemetry, radar, and electro-optical tracking systems,
confirming the successful performance,” said a defence official.

The development of an enhanced Pinaka system was taken up to achieve longer range performance compared to an earlier design with a reduced length. The new rocket would replace the existing Pinaka Mk-I rockets, which are currently under production.

The quick reaction time and high rate of fire of the system will give an edge to the armed forces during a low-intensity conflict situation. The rockets flight-tested have been manufactured by Economic Explosives Limited, Nagpur to which the technology has been transferred.

Pinaka is the first indigenous rocket system designed, developed, and produced by DRDO with the help of private industries. Carrying different types of warheads it can be deadly for the enemy as it has the capability to destroy their solid structures and bunkers. The Pinaka weapon system consists of Rocket, Multi Barrel Rocket launcher, Battery Command Post, Loader cum Replenishment Vehicle, Replenishment Vehicle and Digicora MET Radar.”

Earlier, ammunitions of this class have been imported or have been manufactured by the public sector. The successful testing of the Pinaka symbolises another major achievement of the ‘Make in India’ campaign.

This rocket system has both guided and unguided versions. The trials were conducted with some improvements in the system making it more lethal. The unguided rocket system can neutralise large areas with rapid salvos.

“It provides a unique capability to accurately deliver a devastatingly lethal and responsive fire against a variety of area targets such as exposed enemy troops, armoured and soft skin vehicles, communication centres, air terminal complexes, fuel and ammunition dumps.

The defence ministry in August had inked contracts worth Rs 2,580 crore for six new regiments of the Pinaka rocket systems, which have an original strike range of 35 to 40-km. The government made a historical decision, self-imposing an embargo on 101 defence impedimenta to create a safe environment for indigenous companies in an effort to realize the goal of “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” (Self Reliant India) in the defence sector. The Pinaka MBRL made it to the embargo list and are already in production.

The contracts were inked with defence PSU Bharat Earth Movers Ltd. (BEML) and private sector companies, TATA Power Company Ltd. (TPCL) and Larsen & Toubro (L&T), for the six new regiments. The six Pinaka Regiments comprise 114 Launchers with automated gun aiming and positioning system and 45 command posts to be procured from TPCL and L&T, along with 330 vehicles from BEML.

“These six Pinaka regiments will be operationalised along the northern and eastern borders of our country (with China), further enhancing the operation preparedness of our armed forces. Induction of these Pinaka regiments is planned to be completed by 2024,” said an MoD official. The DRDO on Wednesday said the enhanced version of the Pinaka will eventually replace the existing Pinaka Mark-I rockets, which are currently under production.

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