By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore/Hyderabad: Indian defence scientists are slogging it out along with weapon specialists from the Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) somewhere in Tel Aviv to develop long-range surface-to-air missiles (LRSAMs) for the Indian Navy. Once cleared for operations, these LRSAMs will add teeth to the P-15 A Kolkata Class guided-missile destroyers of the navy.
Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) sources confirms to Express that the LRSAM team is now all geared up for the first control navigation test scheduled in February 2012. "We are pacing ahead to make the first ship weapon system operational by early 2013. Initial tests (short-range) will be done in Israel and the long-range tests will be done in India. The ballistic flight test (short-range) was successfully conducted in Israel in May 2010," sources said.
An Indo-Israeli joint development project, similar to MRSAM for the Indian Air Force (second in the Express series), the LRSAM project (Barak-2 in Israel) took birth on January 27, 2006 with a sanctioned amount of Rs 2,606.02 crore.
Sources claim that the LRSAMs will be among the best in its class, thanks to the energy-management capabilities it adopts. "This ship-based system gets synchronized with other units onboard like radars, combat management and gun-control units. The rear section is being developed by DRDL scientists and the front section by the IAI. We (DRDL) are participating in the development of radar, weapon control system,” sources said. With a range of 70 km and weighing around 275 kg, the LRSAM project is expected to establish a strategic relationship between India and Israel in developing next generation guided weapon systems. “It will definitely provide naval superiority in the coming decades. The weapon system consists of a multi-function surveillance threat alert radar (MFSTAR), weapon control system (WCS) with data link and missiles to arm three P-15A class ships of the Indian Navy,” sources said.
Over 100 missiles are being planned under this project aimed at safeguarding Indian warships from cruise missiles and fighter aircraft. A dual-pulse propulsion unit, high-performance electro-mechanical servo actuation system, active radar seeker and walled active phased array radar for 360 degrees coverage are the tech-treat that is getting embedded on the LRSAM. “Our scientists (currently 20 in Israel) are getting exposure to the development cycle experience in latest and critical design processes. Spin-offs to other indigenous programmes are also huge,” say sources.
Speaking to Express from Singapore, former Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral (Retd) Ram Pream Suthan said that the LRSAMs will raise the level of preparedness of Indian Navy. “It is a huge boost and will help take on the enemy aircraft directly, instead of homing on to a missile. LRSASMs will give the Indian Navy a huge advantage especially against air-to-surface missiles,” Suthan said.
| Copyrigth@The New Indian Express | To be continued |
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org and point out factual errors, if any, that might have crept in despite my best efforts.)
DOUBLE DHAMAKA: India's Strategic Forces Command (SFC) is gearing up for a twin-launch of Prithvi missiles, one after the other, off Orissa Coast. Sources confirm to Express on December 20 (Tuesday) that the liquid propelled twin-engine Prithvi missile, already inducted into the Services, will be launched within a gap of 'one hour'. The SFC had earlier conducted two successful twin-launches of Prithvi missiles – picked up randomly from the production lot. “The launch is subject to favourable weather and other conditions,” sources said.
10.45 AM UPDATE: The SFC postponed the twin launch of Prithvi on Wednesday, after a last-minute tech snag. "In a twin-launch scenario, we don't go for the second one, if the first one fails," sources said. The missiles were produced at the BDL facility in Hyderabad.
Is there anything else happening off Orissa coast? Well watch this space for more!