The Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), a laboratory under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), will deliver guided Pinaka rocket with an enhanced range of up to 75 km to the army by 2020.
The current range of Pinaka is 40 km.
“An upgraded version of Pinaka rocket, with new guided system and an enhanced range, was successfully test-fired at Chandipur in Odisha recently. The results of the trial were excellent,” PK Mehta, director general, Armament Combat Engineering (ACE) cluster headquartered in Pune, told TOI.
As per the plan, the advanced version of the rocket will be inducted into the force in the next two years, Mehta said.
“Currently, we are working on the rocket’s control and guidance system, which will be perfected in the coming months. Thereafter, the rocket will go through several trials, including user trials,” Mehta added.
Explaining the importance of the guided version of the rocket, Mehta said, “The new version of the rocket will be a force multiplier for the Indian Army as it can hit long distance target with precision.”
Asked about the specific requirement of the army vis-a-vis new Pinaka, he said, “The army is still working on this aspect. They haven’t quoted any specific number so far”
In November last year, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had cleared a request for proposal for six additional regiments of the artillery at a cost of Rs 14,633 crore.
A senior army officer told TOI, “The advanced version of the rocket will be in small numbers but it will give us an edge over enemies. The mix attack of the rockets will generate the required lethality on the battlefield.”
Pinaka, the indigenous unguided rocket system which has been undergoing extensive tests since the last 20 years, is capable of neutralising large areas with rapid salvos. The army had used it extensively during the Kargil war while hitting the mountain peaks of the enemy
In fact, more than 6,000 Pinaka rockets have been supplied to the army. The army has a projected requirement of 2 lakh rockets.