Cer­ti­fied and ready, In­dian Army to re­ceive first weaponised Dhruv


In a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone for the Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics Ltd, the first Dhruv (Weapon Sys­tems In­te­grated)—Dhru­vWSI or Ru­dra as it has been chris­tened— will be cer­ti­fied and ready for hand­ing over to its pri­mary cus­tomer, the In­dian Army, dur­ing Aero In­dia 2013. The plat­form is all set to be of­fi­cially cer­ti­fied by cer­ti­fi­ca­tion agen­cies this week. While a mod­i­fied ver­sion of the Dhruv air­frame—tan­dem seats—goes into the light com­bat heli­copter that is cur­rently in flight tri­als, the Army was of the opin­ion that an armed Dhruv with­out ma­jor mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the pri­mary air­frame would also be a po­tent plat­form, and be avail­able to the cus­tomer nat­u­rally much sooner. The Ru­dra is a re­sult of that. Ac­cord­ing to HAL, a Ru­dra can carry fortyeight 70mm rock­ets. “Dif­fer­ent war­heads such as high ex­plo­sives, darts, flechettes or cargo war­heads pro­vide ad­e­quate flex­i­bil­ity to ad­dress any type of tar­get. Th­ese rock­ets can be safely de­liv­ered at stand-off ranges of more than eight km. The tur­ret mounted 20mm can­nons can be cued to the elec­tro-op­ti­cal pod or the pi­lot’s hel­met. This pro­vides Ru­dra im­me­di­ate and ac­cu­rate fire­power against ground and ae­rial tar­gets. Pi­lot only has to look at the tar­get and fire. With an ad­vanced bal­lis­tic com­puter, the guns are very ac­cu­rate even at ex­treme an­gles. Fire and for­get an­ti­tank guided mis­siles with seven-km range make Ru­dra an ideal plat­form for ground sup­port roles. Ru­dra can carry four airto-air mis­siles. Th­ese are in­frared guided fire and for­get mis­siles with off axis bore­sight ca­pa­bil­ity. Pi­lot can en­gage the tar­get us­ing the hel­met-mounted sight or with the elec­tro-op­ti­cal pod, while ma­noeu­vring.” The HAL brochure on the Ru­dra also adds, “State-of-the-art sen­sors com­ple­ment this tremen­dous fire­power. Gy­rosta­bilised elec­tro-op­ti­cal sen­sors work on both vis­ual and IR spec­trum. Any type of tar­get will be picked up and tracked at large dis­tances, whether by day or by night. Th­ese tar­gets can be handed over to the guided mis­siles or at­tacked with rock­ets and gun. The laser des­ig­na­tor can des­ig­nate the tar­get for any com­pat­i­ble weapon. A com­pre­hen­sive self­pro­tec­tion suite would em­power the pi­lot with es­sen­tial si­t­u­a­tional aware­ness of the elctro­mag­netic and laser en­vi­ron­ment. Any mis­sile launched on the heli­copter would be picked up by the self-pro­tec­tion suite and ef­fec­tive coun­ter­mea­sures dis­pensed au­to­mat­i­cally. This makes Ru­dra prac­ti­cally unas­sail­able.” The de­liv­ery comes at a time when there re­main un­re­solved is­sues be­tween the IAF and the In­dian Army in the use of armed he­li­copters.

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