INDIA’S DRDO TESTS SUBMUNITION WARHEADS FOR PINAKA I WEAPON SYSTEM
The Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation’s ( DRDO) Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) laboratory has evaluated submunition warheads for the Pinaka I multi-barrel rocket launcher (MBRL) system at Pokhran field firing range in Rajasthan. ARDE Director Dr K.M. Rajan said that the tests form a part of the proof trials for the production lot of Pinaka I, which randomly picks up Pinakas to evaluate the performance standards of a specific lot at regular periods. Rajan said: “Complete systems, subsystems and efficiency for these submunition warheads have been tested.” The successful trials are expected to allow for the use of these submunition warheads in Mark-II version of Pinaka, which will have a 20-km operational range. Designed to replace the Indian Army’s ageing Russian-built BM-21 Grad launchers, the Pinaka is capable of destroying opposition communication centres, air terminal complexes, and gun/rocket locations, as well as solid structures and bunkers. The system features six launcher vehicles of 12 rockets each, as well as two command post vehicles, including a fire control computer, Digicora MET radar, and six loader/replenishment vehicles with a payload of 100 kg.
An undisclosed DRDO official told The Times of India: “We have seen Pinaka’s performance during the Kargil episode. Now this thermo-baric ammunition is able to operate from a mobile launcher at extreme temperature ranges of -10°C to 55°C with a quicker reaction time. It also has the capability to carry various kinds of warheads. It has now become more lethal.”