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Indian Army test-fires Smerch rockets, hits targets 90 km away

In yet another boost to the Indian Army, the Smerch guided missile-cum-multi barrel rockets successfully hit targets around 90 kilometres away at Rajasthan's Pokhran field firing range on Monday to clear the trial. Developed jointly by India and Russia, two versions of the Smerch - 9MMF and 9.55K - were test-fired.

A team senior Indian army officers and Russian scientists witnessed the test firing. The missiles/rockets are state-of-art and their direction can be controlled/changed to hit moving targets or if they deviate from their course. The Smerch uses stabilisers made at Kanpur’s Ordnance Factory Board. The stabilisers are the wings of the rocket which cannot be fired without them.

A similar test firing of the Smerch in 2017 had failed as the rockets missed the target and went awry. The 48.5 tonne Smerch with the Indian Army can fire seven types of rockets.

India is already developing and had in January 2017 and May 2018 successfully test-fired an upgraded version of Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher to replace the Smerch. "The Pinaka Rocket converted to a Guided Pinaka was successfully test-fired from Launch Complex-III, ITR, Chandipur today. The Pinaka Rocket Mark-II, which evolved from Pinaka Mark-I is equipped with a navigation, guidance and control kit and has been transformed to a Guided Pinaka. This conversion has considerably enhanced the range and accuracy of Pinaka. The test-firing has met all mission objectives. The radars, electro-optical and telemetry systems at Chandipur tracked and monitored the vehicle all through the flight-path. The Guided Pinaka is developed jointly by ARDE Pune, RCI Hyderabad and DRDL Hyderabad. ITR Chandipur provided the range and launch support," the Ministry of Defence has said on January 12, 2017.

The Pinaka Mark-II has a range of more than 70 kilometres and it can fire a salvo of 12 rockets in 44 seconds.

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