DRDO Pinaka MLRS Multi Launch Rocket System,Indian Army
Pinaka is a multiple rocket launcher produced in India and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Army.It is the India’s long range replacement for the vintage BM-21 Grad MLRS(Multi Launch Rocket System).It entered in Service in 1998 as a 40 km range system and consists of 12 rockets mounted on an 8X8 truck with NBC protection.An improved variant with 65 km range rockets is currently in service.
Pinaka Multi Launch Rocket System is quite effective and better than any other MLRS and also costs eight-fold less than its competitor US M270 MLRS and it is also significantly far cheaper than Brazilian ASTROS II.It has been inducted in Indian Army and series production has been ordered.
Features and Capabilities
Pinaka is a complete Multi barrel Rocket launcher System consists of six launcher vehicles, each with 12 rockets; six loader-replenishment vehicles; three replenishment vehicles; two Command Post vehicle (one stand by) with a Fire Control computer, and the DIGICORA MET radar. A battery of six launchers can neutralize an area of 1000 m x 800 m.
The Pinaka launcher has two pods with 12 tubes for 214-mm rockets. The standard rocket is around 4 m long and weights around 275 kg. The standard rocket is fitted with HE-FRAG (High Explosive Fragmentation) warhead. Eight types of warhead were to be developed, including incendiary warhead and cluster warheads with anti-tank and anti-personnel submunitions.The Pinaka has twice the firepower and delivery range than BM-21 Grad.
The Pinaka MLRS uses state of art technologies for improved combat performance.The cabin is pressurised in addition to blast shields to protect crew .The Pinaka system is integrated with Microprocessor based fully automatic positioning and fire control console.Special night vision devices are provided for driver and crew to see the field during day/night operations.The Pinaka MLRS is highly efficient in targeting and neutralising ‘B’ vehicles, enemy guns/rocket locations and other soft targets.It also destroy the anti-personnel and antitank mines at short notice.
Propulsion and Performance
The Pinaka rocket are powered by diesel engine.Pinaka MLRS is generally deployed by a battery in which 72 rockets are mounted and all the rockets can be fired in just 44 seconds ,taking out an area of 1 sq.km .up to the maximum firing range of 65 km.Each launcher can fire in a different direction too.The system has the flexibility to fire all the rockets in one go or only a few.It can carry the warhead of 250 kg and launch with the speed of 80 km/h.
The impressive rate of fire of the system is due to the special fire control computer.There is a command post linking together all the six launchers in a battery.Each launcher has an individual computer,which enables it ot function autonomously in case it gets separated from the other five vehicles in a war.
It’s CEP should not exceed 1 – 2% of the range. A further accuracy improvement is underway. The accuracy can be improved with the implement of Trajectory Correction System(TCS) on the Pinaka. It is capable of carrying 250 kg payload. These rockets might be fitted with guidance systems for better accuracy. This rocket was expected to enter service by 2012.
Rockets can be launched from the driver’s seat or remotely up to 200 m from the vehicle.It can also perform shoot-and-scoot missions. The Pinaka multiple launch rocket system is mounted on the Tatra Kolos high mobility truck, license produced at Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML). Cab is fitted with NBC protection system for the crew.
The Kolos truck features a central type regulation system as the driver can easily adjust the tire pressure according to the terrain condition for optimum mobility.
Modes of Operation
The Pinaka Multi launch Rocket System can be operate in different modes namely:
Autonomous mode. The launcher is fully controlled by a fire control computer (FCC). The microprocessor on the launcher automatically executes the commands received from the FCC, giving the operator the status of the system on displays and indicators.
Stand-alone mode: In this mode, the launcher is not linked to the FCC operator, and the operator at the console enters all the commands for laying of the launcher system and selection of firing parameters.
Remote mode: In this mode, a remote control unit carried outside the cabin up to a distance of about 200 m can be used to control the launcher system, the launcher site and to unload the fired rocket pods from the launcher.
Manual mode: All launcher operations including laying of the system and firing are manually controlled. This mode is envisaged in the situations where the microprocessor fails or where there is no power to activate the microprocessor-based operator’s console.
PINAKA MLRS Variants Missiles
The Pinaka MLRS contains two missile variants named Pinaka MK-I with the range of 40 km that is in operation and a Pinaka MK-II with the range of more than 60 km. It was announced that a 7.2 m long rocket with a maximum range of 100 – 120 km in under development.
Future of Pinaka MLRS
The Pinka is going to be more improved in future.DRDO planned to implement TCS (Trajectory Correction System)and rockets can be guided by GPS to improve the accuracy.A wraparound micro-strip has also been developed for this system.
A 7.2-metre rocket for the Pinaka MBRL is in under development phase, which can reach a distance of 120 km and carry a 250 kg payload .These new rockets can be fired in 44 seconds, have a maximum speed of Mach 4.7, rise to an altitude of 40 km before hitting its target at Mach 1.8 and can destroy an area of 3.9 km2 .DRDO also planned to integrate UAVs with the Pinaka.