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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Prahaar awaits Army intent; DRDO luring IAF, Navy



By Anantha Krishnan M

Express News Service

Bangalore/Hyderabad: Prahaar in Sanskrit stands for 'Strike.' And, it struck where it matters the most during its maiden launch in July this year. Kept under wraps until then, Prahaar is an offshoot of India's Air Defence (AD) programme, with the scientists converting the endo-atmospheric interceptor, into a brand new tactical battlefield support missile. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) launched the project sans sanctions (no user requirements and approved budgets) in July 2010.  One year later, the missile with a range of 150 km was successfully demonstrated to the Indian Army.
Tough to be detected owing to its high maneuvering capabilities, Prahaar is a quick reaction missile, which can be used against targets between 50-150 km. Currently the DRDO is in talks with the Indian Army on the deployment philosophies and their needs, apart from generating confidence of the user, which is always a commodity in short supply. DRDO claims that the user 'has shown a lot of interest' taking into account its cost-effectiveness and the sheer numbers by which it can be fielded.
“The futuristic tactical operations will increasingly require long-range stand-off weapons with high accuracy and short reaction time to neutralize time critical targets. Prahaar can be be adapted to existing maritime platform as well as to an aircraft increasing its utility. It can neutralize the identified targets, provide effective counter force system and serve as an affordable solution to the future battlefield requirements,” sources said.
The missile is capable of carrying multiple warheads, has very fast reaction capability from mission command to execute the launch. “With all weather, day and  night launch capability, Prahaar's range, if launched from an aircraft (read as Sukhoi), can be extended up to 350 km. This is quite feasible as the missile has less weight, diameter and radar cross section. As of now, we are waiting for a Letter of Intent (LoI) from the Army,” sources said.
Once the Army gives the LoI, the missile will have to undergo 10-12 trials to fine tune its effectiveness with
different warheads.  “The missiles are controlled and guided from lift off to impact and maneuver continuously so that the prediction of both launch point and impact point are difficult. Multiple launchers can be linked together to form a missile battery to deliver simultaneous multi-axis saturation attack on the target,” sources said.
Prahaar is capable of carrying a variety of warheads like pre-fragmented, incendiary sub-munitions, runway-denial sub-munitions, smart munitions and thermobaric (a fuel-air bomb, which produces a blast wave for longer period) warheads. Since the missile uses solid propulsion systems, it can be put on a ready-to-launch-mode quickly. It's a zero maintenance, road-mobile system developed by young AD scientists in the average age-group of 35 years.
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