New Delhi: India today successfully flight tested an enhanced version of the Pinaka rocket system manufactured by a private sector industry, a key milestone in the efforts to develop self-reliance in arming the defence forces.
Development of the enhanced version of the Pinaka system was taken up to achieve longer range performance compared to earlier design, with reduced length.
“A total of six rockets were launched in quick succession and the tests met complete mission objectives. Rockets tested have been manufactured by Economic Explosives Limited, Nagpur, to whom the technology has been transferred,” a Ministry of Defence statement said.
A senior DRDO official, who witnessed the launches, confirmed that all mission parameters have been met. “All the flight articles were tracked by range instruments such as telemetry, radar and electro-optical tracking systems, which confirmed the flight performance,” the MoD statement said.
The enhanced version of the Pinaka rocket would replace the existing Pinaka Mk-I rockets, which are currently under production. This is an important milestone for India’s private industry in ammunition development and manufacturing.
Pinaka rockets were designed more than 20 years ago by ARDE and HEMRL. In the last three years, enhanced Pinaka rockets have been co-developed under a Development-cum-Production Partner model with Economics Explosives Limited, which is part of the Nagpur-headquartered Solar Group.
“The Mk-1 enhanced rockets have 25 per cent more range and five years more shelf life than the earlier developed Mk-1 rockets. These also have a superior construction technique with changed propellant casting, which leads to better reliability,” an industry source said.
The Defence Acquisition Council had cleared the proposal to buy Mk-1 Pinaka rockets from the private sector in 2017. However, the Indian Army had put a hold on this order awaiting the development of Pinaka Mk-1 enhanced rocket at Economic Explosive Limited.
The company is making all variants of Pinaka rockets at its composite manufacturing facility at Nagpur. Currently it is also executing a Design and Development order for the Pinaka guided extended range rocket.
Economic Explosives Limited had entered the aerospace and defence sector about 10 years ago and makes high technology missiles, space rockets, as well as other munitions.
Recently, Economic Explosive Limited had signed a contract to supply 10 lakh (one million) modern multi-mode hand grenades for the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force.
Solar Group is also looking forward to the possibility of export of its ammunition and has attracted queries from friendly foreign countries already for the Pinaka rockets that is now produced in the private sector in the country.