Friday, February 1, 2013

Indian Pinaka Rocket Launcher Tests

India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has put the Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher through multiple test-launches, in trials designed to study the fired rockets' in-flight stability and precision capability.

In all, four rocket rounds were launched over a two-hour period on 30 January 2013 and the trials took place at DRDO's testing grounds, located in Odisha.

Truck-mounted, the Pinaka rocket launcher has a 40 kilometre range and can launch 12 rockets in less than a minute, thereby neutralising a target zone almost four square kilometres in size.

Pinaka Rocket Launcher

Work on this multi-barrel rocket launcher first got underway in the mid-1980s and, by 1992, the prototype system had been rolled out. The Pinaka rocket launcher is now in widespread Indian Army service and, to date, 80 examples have been built, at a per-unit cost of $580,000.

Each launcher can operate in several ways: autonomously, manually or remotely, and the Indian Army typically deploys these in batteries of six, with a command post used to link them all up.

Once fired, the Pinaka's rockets reach a maximum velocity of Mach 4.7 and a maximum altitude of 4,000 metres. They then strike their targets at Mach 1.8.

Indian Pinaka Tests

"Four rounds of rocket test were successfully carried out today", a defence official said of the 30 January Indian Pinaka tests, adding: "These are routine trials and some more rockets are likely to be tested tomorrow."

The Pinaka made its operational debut in the Kargil War. Here, its high deployability and ability to unleash comprehensive mobile firepower proved advantageous.

Future Pinaka developments include a planned systems upgrade, extending the current 40km range out to 120km. There's also a vision to soon deploy Pinakas and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles together.

Indian Armed Forces weapons test-launches have been quite numerous in recent weeks and months. Earlier this week, the Indian Navy test-launched the K-15 Sagarika Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile while, back in October 2012, the same organisation test-fired the Dhanush ballistic missile design.

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