The Pinaka Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) was designed by the DRDO with development and production partners from the private sector – Larsen & Turbo (L&T) and Tata Power SED. The first variant was fielded in the year 2000 using unguided rockets reaching a range of 42 km in ballistic flight. By mid 2020s India plans to field 22 regiments armed with various variants of Pinaka. The latest is Mk II, launched in 2013 by the DRDO. Pinaka II, that is slightly longer and is designed to reach 75 km, this new version (Pinaka Mk-II) uses improved positioning and navigation systems thus reducing the fire dispersion of the salvo. The rockets that carry four types of warheads – fragmentation high explosive, Incendiary, Anti-Tank and Anti-Personnel minelettes and anti-tank bomblettes. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
Pinaka Mk-III is currently in advanced development. This enhancement of the Pinaka system turns the ballistic rocket into a precision weapon, using guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) placed in the empty ogive section of the warhead. The system uses INS (MEMS-based) and three-level satellite navigation support – GPS, GAGAN, and GLONASS. The system employs vector explicit guidance algorithms to guide the rocket using aerodynamic canard controls that increase the rocket precision, providing hit accuracy of less than 30 m at its maximum range. The Indian Army plans to use Pinaka Mk III to replace the 26 long-range artillery rocket battalions currently using the Russian BM-30 Smerch 300mm rocket launchers. According to DRDO the system, likely to complete development in 3 years. Each rocket has a length of 5.175 m and a diameter of 214 mm. Weighing 325 kg, Pinaka Mk III has an effective range of 20-80 km. It carries a warhead of 100 kg (including the 23 kg guidance system). Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
The Ultra Light Howitzer (ULH) developed and built by Kalyani defence group represents one of the recent Indian defense programs built by the private sector. Based on the soft recoil system developed for the Garuda 105 system, this 155×39 mm caliber gun system that weighs less than 4.5 tons, thus being able to mount on medium trucks. In a recent firing test series the ULH the gun successfully proved firing pressures. The ULH fires standard 155mm ammunition at a rate of 4 rounds per minute in intense firing or 1.25 RPM in sustained fire. The mount can traverse 360 degrees and elevate from -3 to +70 degrees. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
The 155×52 Caliber Mounted Gun System is an example for the indigenously designed, developed and manufactured defense systems developed and built by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). This 52 CAL 155mm gun common with towed guns, is mounted on a BEML TATRA 8×8 truck, designed to move the gun and 18 ammunition sets (projectiles and propelling charges) on roads and offroad, and place the gun in position and lay the gun for firing without external support. The unit uses integral navigation and positioning systems using INS and GPS, as well as a muzzle velocity measurement system, enabling auto laying and improved fire precision at distances of 38 km and more. An auxiliary power unit is used to provide operating power for the gun operations and electronic control even when the engine is shut off. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
The procurement of 100 K9 VAJRA-T Self-Propelled Gun (SPG) was the largest Indian private sector defense order (US$ 710 million) won in a global competition. The K9 developed by the Korean Hanwha Techwin. The first lot of 10 K9 VAJRA-T guns is currently being delivered to the Indian Army. The remaining will be gradually produced in India under the JV signed with Larsen & Turbo (L&T), with the Korean company acts as the technology partner. All 100 guns will be supplied in under 42 months from the signing of the contract. The JV will also transfer maintenance technology to the army shops that will provide technical support for the systems. The Indian K9 is based on the Korean Thunder SPG, that has recently been selected by several users worldwide. The tracked, armored SPG mounts a powerful 155mm/52 howitzer capable of handling Enhanced Range Full Bore (ERFB) ammunition common with all NATO forces. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update.
Despite the extensive local development and production of tube artillery, the endless Indian appetite for big guns opens many opportunities for overseas vendors, to sell and co-manufacture gun systems in India. The M-777 light howitzer is one example, BAE Systems was is supplying 145 such guns under a US$750 million deal. The guns were delivered in 2017 and are undergoing testing in India. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
Although India’s OFB produces a line of 155 and 130 mm artillery ammunition as well as 125 and 120mm tank rounds. The Indian Army suffers short supplies of ammunition, particularly new and advanced types. To improve logistics and performance India intends to induct Bi-Modular Charge Systems (BMCS) technology it once planned to license from IMI. Current possibilities include licensing the technology from Elbit Systems, once the sale of IMI Systems is concluded, or from Nexter, that recently established a JV with Premier Explosives of India. Both companies displayed these technologies at DEFEXPO 2018. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
Kalyani has launched another JV with IAI, for the production of guided rocket and artillery systems, based on IAI’s Topgun – a low cost, add-on fuze that screws on to standard 155mm rounds and transforms it into a precision-guided weapon, at a fraction of the cost of missiles or loitering weapons. The TopGun fuze performs two-dimensional correction of the ballistic trajectory to reduce dispersion in both range and deflection, enabling fire mission to be accomplished at a shorter time and lower cost. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense Update