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PINAKA : India's highly successful guided weapon system

Thrust into the action during the 1999 Kargil War, the Pinaka rocket system quickly proved its worth for the Indian Army with its precision and devastating strikes, neutralising enemies sitting on mountain tops.

Since then, the system has seen major upgrades and is now one of the most reliable and effective weapon systems of the Indian Army's artillery wing.

Pinaka is an indigenous multi-barrel rocket launch (MBRL) system, which has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Army. Its weapon system has a state-of-the-art guidance kit bolstered by an advanced navigation and control system.

Here is a look at the features that make Pinaka truly special:

1. How and why Pinaka came into being?
Named after the bow of Lord Shiva, the idea of Pinaka was first conceived in 1981, as an answer to the Indian Army's requirement for a long range artillery system. Initially, the Ministry of Defence approved two confidence building projects and the actual development could only begin in 1986 with a sanctioned project-budget of Rs 26.47 crore. After it proved its combat capabilities in 1999, a dedicated Pinaka MBRL regiment was raised in February 2000.

2. How does Pinaka weapon system work?
The complete MBRL system of Pinaka is comprised of six launcher vehicles, each having 12 rockets with six loader-replenishment vehicles, two command post vehicles with fire control computer and a DIGICORA MET radar. Each Pinaka launcher can work independently, as it is controlled by its own computer. The launch system of Pinaka is comprised up of two pods, which are mounted side-by-side to each other on a Tatra launcher vehicle. Each launcher has the ability to fire all the rockets in one go or only a few - in a different direction than others with the help of its control computer. The Pinaka launcher can operate in different modes — autonomous, standalone, remote and manual.

3. What kind of firepower does Pinaka possess?
The launch system of Pinaka can fire a salvo of 12 rockets within 40 seconds and a single battery of six launchers can take care of an area of 1,000 m × 800 m.

4. What is the range of Pinaka weapon system?
The initial version of weapon system was called Mark I, which had a range of 40 km. The upgraded version or Pinaka Mark II has an extended range of 70 to 80 km.

5. What kind of warhead variations can be used in Pinaka?
The rockets of Pinaka can use a wide range of warheads comprised of pre-fragmented high explosive, anti-tank bomblet, anti-tank minelet warhead, anti-personnel mines, incendiary practice and pilot shot. The pre-fragmented warhead is used to inflict 25% to 30% more damage than the conventional warhead. The HMX-based composition is primarily used in anti-tank bomblets while minelets warhed is used to achieve 150mm armour penetration.

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