Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence: Helina ready for full-range ground-based trials in Pokhran | MoD-team evaluating PARS 3 & Spike |

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Helina ready for full-range ground-based trials in Pokhran | MoD-team evaluating PARS 3 & Spike |

 Rare grabs of Helina's ground-based & chopper trials.  Photos: Special Arrangement
By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore/Hyderabad: Helina, the helicopter version of anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) Nag, being developed indigenously for Rudra – the Advanced Light Helicopter's Weapon System Integration version (ALH-WSI) -- will undergo full range trials next month. During this lock-on-after-launch (LOAL) mode trials, to be conducted from a ground-based launcher, Helina's capability to establish  full range in excess of 7 km will be tested. (In the LOAL mode, the gunner can correct the course of the missile mid-way after it is fired, update the target position and lock on to it through a two-way RF data link.)
Around 60 scientists, including 12 directly associated with the project, are gearing up at various critical labs of the Missile Complex in Hyderabad for this crucial ground trials, to  to be held at the Chandan firing ranges in Pokhran. Sources claim that this could be the last trials for the air-to-ground missile Helina from a ground launcher. "We will have guided flight tests from Rudra against a tank-size later. Integration of the Helina's Fire Control System (FCS) on Rudra is planned during the second half of 2012," sources said.
Helina  has been taken up as a fast-track mission mode project by Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) to extend the range of Nag from 4 km to in excess of 7 km. The Rs 55-crore project started in 2008 April, will initially help Army Aviation form one Squadron of Rudra choppers with Helinas in LOAL configuration.  So far two missiles have been fired from ground launchers over a range of 4.2 km (K K Ranges in Ahmednagar, near Pune). At Pokhran, one Helina was fired from the out-board weapon station location on Rudra for the first time. The chopper was hovering at an altitude of approximately 25-meter above ground.
A stand-alone FC for Helina has been developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad and proven during the ground firing.  The two-way data link has also been developed for the first time by RCI in association with  Astra Microwave, Hyderabad.
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) sources told Express that, they as the system and other armaments integrators for Rudra, are part of a Ministry of Defence-appointed team,  which is currently evaluating MBDA's PARS 3 missile and Rafael's Spike. "The team has visited the Rafael facility and witnessed the trials. They will now head for MBDA installation. The final call will be taken by the Defence Procurement Board, based on the team's recommendations," sources said.
HAL says that the pilots' report of Helina's Rudra trials have been sent to DRDL. "These are crucial inputs that will help the DRDL to fine-tune the missile. Services want proven platforms first and hence PARS 3 and Spike were short-listed. Helina will continue as an alternate and parallel ATGM programme as we are very keen to have an indigenous missile onboard," HAL sources said.

|To be continued | Copyright@The New Indian Express |
(CRACKING INDIA'S MISSILE CODE is an exclusive series currently on in The New Indian Express. In the days ahead, you will get to read a mix of news-breaks and tech-upgrades on current and futuristic missile programs of India, in addition to some human-interest pieces. Email your thoughts on this long-range series to anantha.ak@gmail.com and point out factual errors, if any, that might have crept in despite my best efforts.)

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