Saturday, 7 November 2009

Army warms up to indigenous Akash missile







Photos: the Akash missile on BMP-II and vehicle mountings. The newer version, being offered to the army, is mounted and fully integrated on T-72 tank chassis








by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 7th Nov 09
DRDO Missile Complex, Hyderabad

India’s long-criticised Akash anti-aircraft missile is now blazing towards success. Its counterparts in the DRDO’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme, the Prithvi and Agni ballistic missiles, were on target from the start; the anti-tank Nag missile will also enter service shortly; the Trishul short-range anti-aircraft missile was abandoned unceremoniously. Now, after years of rejection from the military, the Akash is being accepted as a world-class missile.

The IAF’s order last year for two Akash squadrons --- dismissed by sceptics as a face-saving burial for the Akash programme --- has just been doubled with a fresh IAF order for 16 more launchers that will be stationed in northeast India. And now, Business Standard has accessed even better news for the Akash programme: the Indian Army is considering ordering several Akash squadrons for its ground forces.

The DRDO’s Chief Controller for R&D, Dr Prahlada, has confirmed that the army is displaying fresh interest in the Akash. Asked for details, Dr Prahlada told Business Standard, “I cannot say whether the army is interested in the Akash for its strike corps, or for another role. In any case, the Akash is a mobile system that is suitable for various roles.”

But protecting fast-moving tank columns from enemy fighters is what the Akash does best. For years the DRDO laboured to fit the entire Akash system --- including radars, missile launchers and command centres --- into T-72 tanks. This provided the Akash with the cross-country mobility to advance deep into enemy territory along with Indian Army strike corps, shooting down enemy fighters at ranges as far out as 25 kilometers.

Planned as a replacement for the army’s obsolescent Russian SAM-6 Kvadrat, the heart of an Akash missile battery is the Hyderabad-developed Rajendra phased-array radar that tracks up to 64 enemy fighter aircraft simultaneously, in a radius of 60 kilometers. The mobile command centre selects up to four of the most threatening air targets, and two Akash missiles are fired at each from the T-72 based Akash launchers, which move alongside. The Rajendra radar continuously guides the missiles, eventually “flying” them smack into the enemy fighters.

Theoretically, a “ripple” of two Akash missiles has a 99% chance of shooting down a modern fighter aircraft. Practically, however, in 9 live Akash trials so far, all 9 missiles that were fired hit their targets. Videos of the firing trials, witnessed by Business Standard, show the Akash missiles smashing their targets into tiny fragments at ranges beyond 20 kilometers.

The DRDO has taken 20 years to develop the cross-country mobile, tank-mounted version of the Akash missile system that the army is now interested in. Criticism of this delay has been vocal, but the DRDO counters by pointing to the quality of its product: the Akash, says the DRDO, is the only system of its kind available globally.

A top DRDO scientist at the missile complex in Hyderabad points out, “Western countries like France, which make missiles in the technological league of the Akash, don’t mount the entire system on a tank, something that the Indian Army insists on. Only the Russians build tank-mounted missile systems, but their missile technology is far inferior to that of the Akash. All that the Russians can offer today is the next generation of the Kvadrat.”

The defence PSU, Bharat Electronics Limited, is the nodal production agency for the Akash missile system, supported by a broad consortium of Indian public and private sector manufacturers who contribute components and sub-systems. Bharat Dynamics Limited manufactures the solid-fuel, two-stage, ramjet Akash missile itself.

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's good to know that the lesser SA-6 shot down an F-16 in 1995. May be the ripple is necessary in case the target does, say a cobra maneouver, suddenly and moves out of range of the detonation, the second missile will hit.

Or maybe the second missile is fed more accurate target tracking information, an updated version of the data sent to the first.

To solve this we may need a high fidelity data link. Must be the russian stuff still inside the missile causing the lag.

Anonymous said...

Great news! The belief in locally produced weapons and systems will help in producing better upgrades and applications that are locally suited and more systems will fruitify in the near future.

joydeep ghosh said...

I have a few doubts, pls clear my doubt abt our missiles

i was going through wikipedia, where there is lot information about Indian missile armory in the link India and weapons of mass destruction.

Q1. how long before any akash battery becomes operational
Q2. does the Agni 5 canistered missile signals the end of missile development, and is capable to hitting any chinese town.
Q3. can we launch Agni 5 from submarines
Q4. India's present armoury includes several non canistered missiles, can the already manufactured missiles be converted in into canistered ones
Q5. India recently test fired 250 km Prithvi, this was done by army, but as far as i know the 250 km Prithvi was with the air force, are they not in control of the missile anymore
Q6. can our Prithvi missiles be tailored with MIRVs

Anonymous said...

Rajendra is it Hyderabad developed?
its developed by bangalore based LRDE! productionised by BEL.....

Nirbhay said...

Very nice to know that years of perseverance & hard work is now bearing fruit.

So all the missiles of the IGMDP except the Trishul have been successful. But Ajai do you know what was wrong with the Trishul missile? It is the same one that was rejected in favor of the Barak 1 isn't it?

Broadsword said...

Anonymous 09:41, the ripple is necessary to increase the hit probability of the engagement.

Joydeep:

Q1. how long before any akash battery becomes operational?

Not long. Maybe six months.

Q2. does the Agni 5 canistered missile signals the end of missile development, and is capable to hitting any chinese town.

Why would this signal the end of missile development? Large portions of the world are still out of range.

Q3. can we launch Agni 5 from submarines

No.

Q4. India's present armoury includes several non canistered missiles, can the already manufactured missiles be converted in into canistered ones.

No. It'd be a waste of effort canisterising previous generation missiles.

Q5. India recently test fired 250 km Prithvi, this was done by army, but as far as i know the 250 km Prithvi was with the air force, are they not in control of the missile anymore?

No comment.

Q6. can our Prithvi missiles be tailored with MIRVs

No. The Prithvi doesn't have the payload capability.

Anonymous 11:02: I will check and revert.

Nirbhay, the Trishul is now history. Newer-generation missiles like the SR-SAM are now in the pipeline for doing point defence tasks in a far more effective manner. But the Trishul experience feeds into the next generation of SR-SAMs, so it's not been a total waste.

Thx

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the very nice report. It is heartening to know that the Air Force is now ordering two more batteries.

But what is it that made the Army go crawling back to the DRDO for the SAM system I wonder. Maybe there are no other system in the world that comes remotely close to what it specified for Akash and hence cant choose anything else!.


The army's pig headedness wrt indegenous systems is going to come and bite. The Akash and Arjun are terrible procurment fiascos largely of Army's making because of their pig headedness and terrible attitude.

joydeep ghosh said...

thnx for ur updates, I have 2 more question

Q1. does the Surya missile project really exist

Q2. what is a SCRAMJET and a RAMJET missile.

Anonymous said...

Shuklaji,

What are your thoughts on command guidance? The weak link there seems to be the commands from the ground radar to the missile. Though, I suppose individual missiles would be cheaper.

Is there any movement towards fire and forget versions of Akash? Also, anything on increasing the range?

AK said...

Knock em bloody enemy planes out of the sky Akash. Again, fantastic work by the DRDO. And thanks to IA for accepting Indian stuff. This is the only way forward for India. No more unwieldy and untrustworthy defence deals with Tom, Dick and Harry.

Anonymous said...

Only countries with lack of confidence over air superiority need tracked SAM support with their columns. This is truth you can take to the bank.

hacker said...

Great news
Now the akash is doing well what about its updates i.e. akash mk2
as far as i know akash was rejected as it has some deficiencies are they corrected or will be corrected in the mk2 version?

will the akash mk2 have
1.range:-40-60km
2.phased array Rajendra Radar or active array Rajendra Radar with 100 km range
3.inbuild seeker for dual mode guidance?

Thank you..

Rahul Singh said...

Firstly, thanks for keeping us informed about this development. Ajai Sir, you in your earlier post said that all future Indian missiles(S2S) will be canisterised. Is it going to be same for Indian S2A versions also.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Wiki says the missile weight 700KGs. Are there plans to cut its weight?

Does the missile come in canisters?

thanks

Broadsword said...

Surya:

Q1. does the Surya missile project really exist?

No

Q2. what is a SCRAMJET and a RAMJET missile.

Google it.

Anonymous 16:53

Is there any movement towards fire and forget versions of Akash?

No.

Also, anything on increasing the range?

Yes. It's called MR-SAM.

Anonymous 19:19

Only countries with lack of confidence over air superiority need tracked SAM support with their columns. This is truth you can take to the bank.

Only the US can boast of complete confidence over air superiority, and that too only when it is fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. In an India-Pak or India-China scenario, nobody can hope to obtain air superiority on anything more than a temporary, local basis for the first 14 days of the war.

And then there are attack helicopters... dinky little devils that need to be shot out of the sky. The IAF is not going to do that for you.

Anonymous 21:29

Wiki says the missile weight 700KGs. Are there plans to cut its weight?

No.

Does the missile come in canisters?

No.

MD said...

Nice and very informative article as usual. Thank you.
Also I read couple of places that each squadron has 16-18 launchers. From pictures of launchers you have posted, I am assuming each can fire 3 missile before reloading. Am I right?

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Der Aaye Durust Aaye to IA

Isn't 3 Akash ready-to-fire on a launcher too few? You can track 64 enemy planes but shoot down 3 planes max.

In a war time scenario, where is the time to load again after firing 3 akash. Could a 3x3 akash per launcher would have given better readiness? Or a MBRL type with akash having folding fins?

After all northern neighbour does have huge numbers of planes and believes in sudden, swift & big numbers to surprise whereas Pak too will build numbers with JF-17. We need from SAMs don't we?

Anonymous said...

I meant: We need more SAMs per launcher, don't we? in the prior post

Akash said...

Anon, command guidance as implemented in the Akash is not necessarily a bad thing. Not only does it keep cost/missile down - important for any AF which has only so much of the most important asset, ie money, but it offers significant operational advantages as well. The two key advantages are that the enemy plane does not know when the missile has gone into its terminal dive, all it knows is that it has been locked by a ground based radar. Second, the Rajendra as the primary ground based sensor, is a high power fire control radar with specific ECCM features, and very difficult to jam by most fighters limited power self protection suite. Deception jamming et al wont work that well either. We know, for instance, that before the IAF placed the order for Akash, the missile system was trialled in Gwalior AFB electronic warfare range, where it successfully demonstrated it could perform against whatever the IAF could throw against it.
Clearly, this is a world class system since the IAF operates a range of sophisticated Israeli, French and Indian jamming equipment which would be used for any tests.

On the flip side, command guidance means that the missile is not fire and forget and makes the radar vulnerable to anti radiation missiles. But that is true for both command guided missiles and missiles which are track via missile, as in most of the patriot class missiles and S-3XX series missile systems available. Only the latest use active seekers and cost has ballooned. And if we see DRDO's programs in the ABM space and its aim to indigenize the Astra seeker, it seems clear that even an active RF seeker for the Akash or newer missiles may be available, if required.

Right now, the Akash can act as a very valuable SAM system for choke points, especially in the north east where missile range against low flying attackers is anyways limited by terrain ie valleys and the like, and 25km is certainly enough. And aircraft which are counting on terrain for a masked approach may face destruction on being suddenly confronted by well sited, camouflaged Akash batteries.

Anonymous said...

Ajai,

What are your thoughts on a two front war with China and Pakistan happening in a few years time. Brajesh Mishra recently spoke about it and says that India can get a bigger jolt than 1962 in the next five years.

Broadsword said...

Akash, thanks for your very informative post. The point you make about Akash's suitability for the northeastern approaches from Tibet is very valid.

Anonymous 06:35, India's defence forces are not structured for a full-scale two-front war. They are structured for a one-front war with deterrence operating on the second front. If we have to fight a two-front war (unlikely in the current scenario, Brajesh is only voicing a worst-case apprehension) we will be so stretched that we will have to invoke the nuclear deterrent (which would mean throwing out the current no-first-use policy) or look outwards for help.

MD, each battery has (if I'm not wrong) four launchers, each with three missiles.

Anonymous said...

Great news indeed! Ajai ji, wasn't Astra launched from the ground during the initial stages of its testing before it was fired from a Sukhoi? Is there a possibility of the Astra being tweaked as a SAM as well?
This may be irrelevant to the article, but there is talk of inducting the prohibitively expensive Javelin in infantry units which may be nothing more than gossip. However, my concern is, the Nag follows a top/down attack pattern just like the Javelin. Is DRDO working on a similar Javelin like project as the technology would be more or less the same though it would require some amount of work w.r.t target acquisition and tracker and weight reduction.
BSF,ITBP,SSB armed with hand held ATGM's which are on par with Javelin can wreak havoc on any advancing armor, small troop concentrations or bunkers.

Anonymous said...

Ajai,
Was there any talk about using Akash in a anti-Cruise Missile role?
Given that Akash is command guided, this will make it a low cost,large volume, perfectly suited for anti-CM role.
We already have the detection mechanism( like blips).This needs to integrated with Akash system to complete the kill loop.

Given that cruise missiles are basically dumb manned aircraft with no ECM's, it will gives us a low cost solution.

Nit

Akash.. said...

I don't think it is on T-72 chasis..
It is BMP Chasis... Correct me if i am wrong.

Pratik Khadloya said...

Good to know. Thanks for the informative article.

Anonymous said...

Ajai there are some good Akash pictures including one of a T-72-based launcher at http://www.akashsam.com/about.htm.

Anonymous said...

And here too (need Adobe Flash to view): http://www.akashsam.com/gallry/gallry.html#

fighterclass said...

ajai, any chances of further orders from IAF ? 4 sqn is good but not nearly enough for IAF's needs.
even by a conservative estimate, 7-8 sqns will be needed for the NE alone.
that leaves indo-tibet border, and that with pakistan.

Anonymous said...

Ajai ji,

Very informative post indeed.

Can you kindly answer that how fast this missile can be reloaded??

Anonymous said...

Prasun K Sengupta says: "By the way, the assertion by BROADSWORD that "the DRDO has taken 20 years to develop the cross-country mobile, tank-mounted version of the Akash missile system that the Army is now interested in" is NOT TRUE. Financial sanction for initiating R & D work on developing the T-72-based carrier vehicle for both the missile launcher and the Rajendra engagement radar was made available in only 2003 and by 2006 the first prototype carrier/launch vehicles were ready for field evaluations". Please comment.

Shaunak said...

@Anon, 08 November 2009 15:48

"BSF,ITBP,SSB armed with hand held ATGM's which are on par with Javelin can wreak havoc on any advancing armor, small troop concentrations or bunkers."

If it were that easy NATO would have planned to use ATGMs to neutralise Soviet Armour superiority rather than investing so much in tactical nukes.

Please note that in most professional armed forces, Armour thrusts are accompanied by Arty barrages that will destroy or severely shake any infantry forces lying in wait with ATGMs.

Broadsword said...

Prasun,

Yes, 2003-2006 was the phase when it was mounted on a tank. It took several years before that to mount it on BMP-II carriers, which the army eventually rejected. And it took more than a decade before that for the vehicle mounted basic system to be completed.

Total time period for: Basic vehicle version + BMP carriage + T-72 carriage = 20 years.

These are DRDO figures.

Shaunak!

Tank columns are not preceded by a rolling barrage of artillery fire. Since the day the manportable anti-tank guided missile entered service, it has been the single greatest threat to a tank.

Of course, the infantryman who wants to take on a tank needs the training and temperament to stay put in the face of a tank advance, to emerge at the right time from his covered position, to aim his missile with his trembling hands and to guide it all the way into the tank.

Not easy for a hardened infantryman. Near impossible for police forces!

Anonymous said...

Akash,

thanks for the informative replies.

Shuklaji,

--Also, anything on increasing the --range?

--Yes. It's called MR-SAM.

Are you implying that MR-SAM will be based on the Akash system? I guess Rajendra or upgraded Rajendra and the 3d-CAR would/could be used, but as far as I understand, the MR-SAM missile will be based on the Barak-NG missile. (http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/india-israel-introducing-mr-sam-03461/)

I would appreciate any clarification on that. I ask, specifically because you mentioned that there is no move towards fire and forget missiles (by which I meant active seeker) and the Barak 8 missile does have one.

A bit confused.

Regards

joydeep ghosh said...

ajai sir

I have a query in relation to the reply give to anonymous

Anonymous 06:35, India's defence forces are not structured for a full-scale two-front war. They are structured for a one-front war with deterrence operating on the second front. If we have to fight a two-front war (unlikely in the current scenario, Brajesh is only voicing a worst-case apprehension) we will be so stretched that we will have to invoke the nuclear deterrent (which would mean throwing out the current no-first-use policy) or look outwards for help.

I m also putting up a scenario

if Pakistan attacks India the next time, China will definately help Pakistan either in overt or covert manner.

if China attacks India over Tibet, in the next 2 yrs as is being said, Pakistan will definately strike us at the back n try to rest the whole Kashmir from us.

my question is

why cant we invoke general conscription or recall of retired defense personnel as a solution.

Broadsword said...

Anonymous 12:25:

"Are you implying that MR-SAM will be based on the Akash system? I guess Rajendra or upgraded Rajendra and the 3d-CAR would/could be used, but as far as I understand, the MR-SAM missile will be based on the Barak-NG missile. (http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/india-israel-introducing-mr-sam-03461/)"

Anonymous, don't confuse yourself by looking for difficult answers to perfectly simple questions.

The anti-air missile with a longer range than the Akash will be the MR-SAM. And yes, it is also called the NG-Barak. Why does it have to be "based on the Akash system"? It is a different missile that covers a different range envelope.

You have a short-range missile... a medium-range missile... and a long-range missile. None of them have to be based upon one another. They cover different envelopes, so they operate in different ways, using different technologies.

Clear?

Anonymous said...

Shuklaji,

thanks for the clarification. I was confused because you mentioned MR-SAM in reference to my question about extending the tange of Akash.

In any case, seems like good news for indigenous production, and thanks for the coverage!

Regards

Anonymous said...

Can't they be deployed in patriot like canistors?Can we have 6 instead of just 3 on one T-72.Can these missiles be deployed in this open state in all weather around the clock?

Anonymous said...

Akash should be mounted in canisters like the patriot

Shaunak said...

"Tank columns are not preceded by a rolling barrage of artillery fire."

They are not? I thought that was part of combined arms operations. Nevertheless I have my wits about me and will not argue the topic with a Tanker.

Could you please educate us about how Arty and Armour co-operate on the battlefield? Thanks.

Broadsword said...

Shaunak:

"Could you please educate us about how Arty and Armour co-operate on the battlefield? Thanks"

There simply isn't enough ammunition with the arty to provide continuous barrages for advancing tank columns. So tanks cover their own move within sub-units... one part of the sub-unit moving, the other static and ready to open up on any enemy that shows up.

Only when an enemy sub-unit, or missile detachment, or RCL detachment is identified and its location is fixed, does a tank column demand artillery fire support.

Most of the time, artillery is scrambling, and re-deploying feverishly, to keep up with the tank columns. They can hardly be expected to provide continuous fire support.

Shaunak said...

@Broadsword,

Thank you.

I got my example from "Strategy" by Edward Luttwak where he uses the example of Tank vs ATGM to elaborate the differences between the Technical, Tactical, Operational and Strategic levels.

Perhaps it only applied to the land of excesses. I shouldn't have generalised :)

Could you recommend any books to read up on modern Armoured warfare?

Anonymous said...

Ajai,

Can you please answer the question of "fighterclass"? I'm curious about this as well.

Thanks for a great article!

Anonymous said...

Ajai and others,

Sorry for bmy lack of knowledge, but what purpose does a canistered missile serve?

Longer life?

Why is it so difficult to develop a canistered version of missiles already developed.

Broadsword said...

Fighterclass, Anonymous 10:07:

DRDO big-wigs told me in mid-2008 that they believed that the military might end up buying as many as 20 Akash squadrons, once they deployed a few and realized how good the system really was.

I thought they were exaggerating, but now I find orders gradually increasing.

I believe the final procurement levels will depend largely upon how the initial systems perform once they are inducted. And, of course, upon the level of support that the DRDO provides to the users. The commitment, I know, is there.

Broadsword said...

Shaunak:

Try Richard Simpkin, "Race to the Swift", and "Human factors in Mechanized Warfare". There are aspects of Cold War in those books, but also eternal truths about mechanised warfare.

Anonymous 10:50:

Lots of stuff about canisterized missiles on the internet. Google it.

Lakshya said...

Ajai Sir,
Which tanks were you assigned on while you were in the army? just interested to know.

Lastly can you tell me if the Arjun can compete with the T-90?
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Awasome video of Akash Missile Air Defence System...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YpHtSQmfxM

Hynniewtrep said...

Great news
1)But is there a plan for a naval version of Akash ?
2)Is there any program for a longer range indigenous SAM (100KMS).The MR-SAM will not be fully indigenous since it will be built with the Israelis
3)Are we trying to win export orders for this system ?

Wish's said...

Thanks Ajay sir for the article,

This is kind of,off the track but Im really curious to know about the Pak-FA 5th gen fighter jet program.

What stage is it in?Is it in full swing ?will it be fully developed by 2015 as mentioned by Russian counterparts ?

Thanks in advance

Broadsword said...

Lakshya:

Which tanks were you assigned on while you were in the army? just interested to know.

Vijayantas from 1979-1986, T-72M from 1987-2001, with occasional Arjun trials in between.

Lastly can you tell me if the Arjun can compete with the T-90?

Yes. In many ways the Arjun is a superior tank, in others the T-90 has the advantage.

----------
Hynniewtrep: (are you really from Meghalaya?)

1)But is there a plan for a naval version of Akash ?

No, the navy is going LR-SAM.

2)Is there any program for a longer range indigenous SAM (100KMS).The MR-SAM will not be fully indigenous since it will be built with the Israelis

Future builds are ALL likely to be in partnerships with friendly foreign countries. Only in strategic systems will we go it alone.

3)Are we trying to win export orders for this system?

By and large, countries only order weapons systems from new producers like India when the builder country's own armed forces have inducted and successfully used that weapons system.

In any case, India itself is moving beyond the Akash, so foreign armed forces are likely to buy the LR-SAM, rather than the Akash.

Mayuresh Gaikwad said...

"DRDO Bigwigs: military might end up buying as many as 20 Akash squadrons"

Excellent! Though I sincerely feel that the IA and the IAF should individually have 20 squadrons. And some export orders to friendly countries would add to the fun

Ajaiji, I have some rookie questions: As I understand, In the IAF, the Akash shall be deployed to protect static installations like air-bases, runways and other assets while in the army, it shall be used in an attack role, providing air-defence to strike corps' advancing tank columns. What are the significant differences between the two versions (except that IAF Akash is based on trailors while IA Akash is based on T-72 and/or BMP-2 Tracked carriers)that allow them to perform the specific role?

Also, what would be the total price of an Akash Squadron? I am assuming that a squardron can protect an area of around 3600 sq km (62 x 62 km square) as mentioned in (http://www.akashsam.com/)

How does it compare with the $1B price of the six S-300 systems that India purchased from Russia, with 48 missiles per system?

Surely, the systems are meant for different purposes with the S-300 being a long range SAM as opposed to the Akash SRSAM

iambob said...

I don't think that's a T-72 Chasis. Looks more like a bmp chasis...

Sagar said...

Nice article Ajay.

Can u tell us how much time will DRDO take to develop single crystal blade and blisk technologies ???

If possible plz write an article on this.

fighterclass said...

that is the BMP chasis. google for pics of akash on T-72 chasis.

Anonymous said...

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news goes here

"Sino-Indo Netizens Debate Contest" recruits debaters

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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We are looking for netizens from China and India who are interested in Sino-Indo issues to take part in the contest. We're looking forward to your participation!


Topics:

1.Will China and India inevitably declare a war?
2.China and India are competitors or partners?
3.Should China and India set aside the border dispute in order to develop bilateral relations?
4.Can China and India solve the border dispute in a peaceful way?
Is Sino-Indian relationship has a promising prospect?

http://forum.globaltimes.cn/forum/showthread.php?t=8671

Anonymous said...

A top DRDO scientist at the missile complex in Hyderabad points out, “Western countries like France, which make missiles in the technological league of the Akash, don’t mount the entire system on a tank, something that the Indian Army insists on. Only the Russians build tank-mounted missile systems, but their missile technology is far inferior to that of the Akash. All that the Russians can offer today is the next generation of the Kvadrat.”

LOL (spare me please)

Anonymous said...

Ajai,
Any updates on LCA or Arjun front?? Seems a very dull phase without any news.

Regards,
Khambat Dagha

Broadsword said...

Anonymous 12:59

"LOL (spare me please)"

Do you have any facts to rebut what the official says, or do you just want to sneer in a supercilious fashion?

Anonymous said...

Rajendra was developed by LRDE bangalore (named after the scientist director of lrde whose brainchild it was)

Kenshi said...

Would it not be wiser to have a single missile instead of Astra, Akash and Barak-8, who to me seem to be rather similar? For example AMRAAM is an air-to-air missile that is adapted to SAM role, likewise the older Sparrow is adapted for naval use (ESSM). I understand that the range of these missiles are different, as is the technology inside, but does a different requirement in range really valid the extra R&D costs plus logistic footprint?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to add a point about future programs being co-builds versus go it alone. What must be understood is that the Akash has allowed India to master some critical technologies, and so will the ABM program, but there are still other technologies, ie IIR seekers for instance where we could benefit from tieups. The DRDO's LRDE would also have mastered AESA radars, and DEAL new high capacity datalinks - our expertise in launchers, command and control centers and software already exists. These basic building blocks, plus the expertise that exists in missile propulsion means that India will only collaborate on select aspects of technology in future "joint ventures" while the bulk, more and more moves inhouse. Then comes the question, if this is the intent then why not try and make most of the "cooperation" items inhouse as well to begin with? The answer is time. The MRSAM for instance, if India were to go it alone, would take India some 10 years but with IAI involvement we can halve it to five. Simply put the services need new systems ASAP. The lack of integrated planning in the past, the lackadaisical approach towards defence modernisation, the trickle feed funding of local R&D and the ever increasing threats from Pak, China and non state actors mean that the Indian defence forces need massive infusions of technology to replace obsolete russian gear purchased in bulk over the 80s and which can only be upgraded and remain relevant so far. The end result is that the systems have to be available within a period of around 5-7 years including tests, IOC, FOC for the services, hence cooperation with worldclass OEMs makes ample sense.

AA said...

Ajai, I may be wrong, but ... DRDO appears to have recovered the entire development cost of Akash from sale of just the first two squadrons. By my reckoning, develop’ costs of Rs 517cr (nominal) approximate to $180Mn at current levels. Manufacturing costs in Jan/09 are Rs 340cr or $72Mn. Receipts are Rs 1200cr or $253Mn. Even the 20year warranty should fall mainly on Manufacturers (incl. TATA).

IMHO improvements and future upgrades should be part of any big order. (To calculate current $ costs, I used continuous Rs:USD conversions, USD inflation of 4%pa & 20:80 split for 1990-1999:2000-2008).

Anonymous said...

Ajai,

Is there any policy change in letting Defence news to public;

Perviously we used to hear a lot about DRDO projects every few days. Now news are hardly comming out.

Like there is no info on any of this projects any where

LCA- LSP 3.
NAL- SARAS - what happend after the crash.
KAVERI- What happend in russia.

and the list goes on and on.

why there is a sudden silence.

Anonymous said...

Kenshi

Check the range and envelopes. Akash is the 30 Km class, Astra if ground launched would be the same, whereas the MRSAM/LRSAM are around 70 km, and an extended range variant would be 120 Km. The different slant ranges and firing envelopes call for different missiles.

Anonymous said...

http://igorrgroup.blogspot.com/2009/11/buk-m2e-air-defence-system.html#more
I feel this is almost in reponse to your akash post and on kvdrat.Can you comment on the range of this.I couldn't figure it out.It's better???

Akash said...

Its not just the range. Check out the interiors of the Buk, straight out of the 70's, now check out Akash vids on Youtube. Basically Akash incorporates the latest digital technology and is much more supportable, whereas Buk et al are a mix of some modern systems and legacy Russian equipment, and if the tiniest thing goes wrong, you will have to go to Russia to fix it. Even the software in some cases, will be not be in todays object oriented commonly used languages such as c,c++ but russian assembly code, proprietary to their designers. Now tell me who will upgrade this inhouse? The Russians now offer a mix of modern tech ported on older legacy systems but the Akash is preferable since it is basically built around open upgradeable standards whose developers are all local. They have the design info, the standards followed and know what can be done and what cant be done. And all available at a fraction of the cost of a Buk.

Anonymous said...

Akash,
C is not an object oriented language but is quiet powerful. On the other hand DRDO and all its sister organisation(including ISRO) use a language called Ada.

Akash said...

I meant C++ which does classify as OOL. Are you saying that ADA is used in Akash, AFAIK it was mostly used for avionics systems.

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