Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher

Summary

Pinaka is a multiple rocket launcher produced in India and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Army. The system has a maximum range of 40 km for Mark-I and 60 km[10] for Mark-I enhanced version,[7] and can fire a salvo of 12 HE rockets in 44 seconds. The system is mounted on a Tatra truck for mobility. Pinaka saw service during the Kargil War, where it was successful in neutralising enemy positions on the mountain tops.[11] It has since been inducted into the Indian Army in large numbers.[12][13]

Pinaka
Pinaka MBRL at rehearsal of Republic Day Parade 2011.jpg
Pinaka MBRL
TypeRocket artillery
Place of originIndia
Service history
Used byIndian Army
WarsKargil War
Production history
DesignerArmament Research and Development Establishment
Designed1986-present
ManufacturerTata Group, Larsen & Toubro[1]
Yantra India Limited[2]
Unit cost4.3 billion (US$56 million)[3] per regiment
Produced1998-present[4]
Variants
  • Mk-I: 37.5 km (23.3 mi)[5]
  • ADM: 37.5 km (23.3 mi)
  • Mk-I Enhanced: 45 km (28 mi)[6]
  • Mk-II: 60 km (37 mi)[7][8]
  • Guided Pinaka: 75 km (47 mi) (under-development)
  • ERR 122: 40 km (25 mi) (Testing Phase)
  • Mk-II ER: 90 km (56 mi) (Testing Phase)
  • Mk-III: 120 km (75 mi) (under-development)
Specifications
Length2.91 m (9 ft 7 in) to 5.17 m (17 ft 0 in)
Diameter122 mm (4.8 in) to 214 mm (8.4 in)

Caliber
  • 122 mm (4.8 in) (ERR 122),
  • 214 mm (8.4 in) (Pinaka Mk.1, ADM, Mk.1 Enhanced, MK.II, Guided Pinaka)
Barrels12
Elevation55°
Traverse90°
Rate of fire12 rockets per launcher or 72 rockets per battery under 44 seconds
Effective firing range37.5 km (23.3 mi) to 75 km (47 mi)
Maximum firing range90 km (56 mi)[7][9]
WarheadHMX (high explosive fragmentation, cluster munition–incendiary, anti-personnel, anti-tank, mine-laying)
Warhead weight100 kg (220 lb) to 250 kg (550 lb)
Detonation
mechanism
Contact, proximity and electronic time fuze

EngineT-930 multi-fuel turbocharged V8 engine with intercooler
Payload capacity22 tonne
SuspensionLeaf spring and air suspension with telescopic shock absorbers
PropellantHigh-energy composite solid fuel
Operational
range
~800 km
Flight altitude40 km (25 mi)
Maximum speed Rocket: Mach 4.7
Launcher: 80 km/h (50 mph)
Guidance
system
Ring laser gyro inertial navigation with GPS/NavIC satellite guidance
Accuracy>7 m to <60 m CEP (Trajectory Correction System: <30 m)
TransportBEML-Tatra T813 8WD
BEML-Tatra T815 8WD

As of 2014, about 5,000 missiles are being produced every year while an advanced variant is under development with enhanced range and accuracy.[14]

As of 2019, an upgraded guided missile version of the system has been test-fired, with a range of over 90 km.[8]

DevelopmentEdit

The Indian Army operates the Russian BM-21 Grad Launchers. In 1981, in response to the Indian Army's need for a long range artillery system, the Indian Ministry of Defence sanctioned two confidence building projects. In July 1983, the Army formulated their General Staff Qualitative Requirement (GSQR) for the system, with planned induction of one Regiment per year from 1994 onwards. This system would eventually replace the Grads.

Development began in December 1986, with a sanctioned budget of 26.47 crore. The development was to be completed in December 1992. Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), a Pune-based DRDO laboratory, led the development of the system.[15] To decrease single source dependency from Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and increase competition in product pricing front, final developmental trials of Pinaka manufactured fully by Indian private sector Solar Industries under transfer-of-technology agreement from DRDO were successfully conducted by Indian Army at Pokhran Range on 19 August 2020.[16] A series of 6 rockets were tested successfully for extended range version of Pinaka from Chandipur on 4 November 2020 that is now going to replace the older Mark I variant in production. This time DRDO has decreased the size of the rockets compared to the older generation Mark I.[17][18]

On 24 June 2021, DRDO successfully fired 25 Pinaka Mk I Enhanced variant at a range of 45 km in quick succession mode as part of saturation attack simulation.[19] On 25th June 2021 DRDO successfully test fired 40 km range 122mm caliber rocket which are made to replace the older BM-21 Grad rockets in the Indian Army.[20][21]

On 11 December 2021, two different variants were simultaneously test fired from Pokhran Range. First one was done by Solar Industries for Pinaka Mark 1 Enhanced with a range of 45 km. The second one was called Pinaka Area Denial Munition (ADM) made by Yantra India Limited (YIL) in which 96.6% of Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munition (DPICM) exploded instead of the required benchmark set at 90%, thus decreasing the failure rate. Both the tests were successful.[22]

DetailsEdit

Pinaka MBRL firing

Pinaka is a complete MBRL system, each Pinaka battery 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 neutralise an area of 1,000 m × 800 m.

The Army generally deploys a battery that has a total of 72 rockets. All of the 72 rockets can be fired in 44 seconds, taking out an area of 1 km2. 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.[23] This is made possible with a 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 to function autonomously in case it gets separated from the other five vehicles in a war.[23]

K J Daniel, Project Director, Pinaka, calls it “a system” and explains how massive each system is. A Pinaka battery has six launchers, six loader vehicles, six replenishment vehicles, two vehicles for ferrying the command post and a vehicle for carrying the meteorological radar, which will provide data on winds.[23]

Modes of operationEdit

The launcher can operate in the following modes:

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.[24]

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.[24]

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.[24]

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.[24]

The Pinaka was tested in the Kargil conflict and proved its effectiveness. Since then it has been inducted into the Indian Army and series production has been ordered. The Pinaka MBRL is stated to be cheaper than other systems. It costs 2.3 crore (US$300,000) per system compared to the M270 which costs 19.5 crore (US$2.6 million).

Salient features[24]

  • Use of state-of-the-art technologies for improved combat performance
  • Total operational time optimised for shoot & scoot capability
  • Cabin pressurisation for crew protection in addition to blast shields
  • Microprocessor-based fully automatic positioning and fire control console
  • Night vision devices for driver and crew
  • Neutralisation/destruction of the exposed troop concentrations, ‘B’ vehicles and other such soft targets
  • Neutralisation of enemy guns/rocket locations
  • Laying of anti-personnel and anti-tank mines at a short notice.

OrdersEdit

The Pinaka project has been a significant success for the DRDO and its development partners in developing and delivering a state of the art, high value project to the Indian Army's demanding specifications. While DRDO was responsible for the overall design and development, its partners played a significant role in developing important subsystems and components. They include Tata Power SED, Larsen & Toubro, Solar Industries, Munitions India Limited and Yantra India Limited.

The first Pinaka regiment was raised on February 2000. Each regiment consists of three batteries of six Pinakas each, plus reserves.[25] On 29 March 2006, the Indian Army awarded Tata Power SED and Larsen & Toubro's Heavy Engineering Division a contract worth 200 crore (US$26 million), to produce 40 Pinaka MBRLs each. Tata Power SED declared that it would be delivering the first units within six months.[26] The Indian Army has placed an intent for Pinaka Weapon System worth 1,300 crores.[27]

On 29 October 2015, the Defence Acquisition Council chaired by the Defence Minister of India, cleared purchase of two more Pinaka regiments at a cost of 3,300 crore (US$430 million). On March 18, 2016, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) cleared the purchase of two additional Pinaka regiments.[28] To supplement the earlier 4 regiments, an order for additional six regiments was cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council on 7 November 2016.[29]

DeploymentEdit

 
An 'enhanced' Pinaka rocket tested on November 4, 2020.

Each Pinaka regiment consists of three batteries of six Pinaka launchers; each of which is capable of launching 12 rockets with a range of 40 km in a space of 44 seconds. In addition to these, a regiment also has support vehicles, a radar and a command post.[30]

The Pinaka will be operated in conjunction with the Indian Army's Firefinder radars and Swathi Weapon Locating Radar of which 28 are on order. The Indian Army is networking all its artillery units together with the DRDO's Artillery Command & Control System (ACCS), which acts as a force multiplier. The ACCS is now in series production. The Pinaka units will also be able to make use of the Indian Army's SATA (Surveillance & Target Acquisition) Units which have been improved substantially throughout the late 1990s, with the induction of the Searcher-1, Searcher-2 and IAI Heron UAVs into the Indian Army, as well as the purchase of a large number of both Israeli made and Indian made Battle Field Surveillance radars. These have also been coupled with purchases of the Israeli LORROS Long-Range Reconnaissance and Observation System which is a combination of FLIR/CCD system for long range day/night surveillance.[31]

Presently, 7 regiments of Pinaka have now been inducted by the Army.[citation needed] A total of 126 launcher units are active with combine of the 7 regiments, with Each regiment has 18 launcher units. An additional 3 are on order and in November 2016 the MoD has cleared a RFP for 6 more regiments.[30] This led to the signing of a contract on 31 August 2020 for six additional regiments worth of launchers at Rs 2,580 crore from Tata Power Company Ltd. (TPCL) and engineering major Larsen & Toubro (L&T). Defence public sector undertaking Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML) which will provide the vehicles will also be part of the project.[32]

The Indian Army has plans to operate a total of 16 regiments by 2022 and increase this to 22 within the next 6 years as the older Grad MLRS regiments are retired.[30] On 9th April 2022, DRDO successfully tested the extended Pinaka MBRL at the Pokhran ranges. The extended range Pinaka MBRL is set to start replacing the shorter range Mk-1 variant of the Indian Army soon. The extended variant has a range from 65-90 kms which doubles the range of the artillery that uses the DRDO-made Pinaka and Russian Grad MBRLs. In addition, the extended range Pinaka rockets can be armed with the Pinaka Area Denial Munitions which were also tested on 9th April.

Mk II DevelopmentEdit

 
Pinaka missile test fired in salvo mode on 20 December 2019.

Pinaka Mk II is being developed by Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune; Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad; and Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad. Another variant of Mark II called Guided Pinaka is equipped with a navigation, guidance, control kit and has considerably enhanced the range and accuracy of the missile.[33] The range of the missile is estimated to be between 60Km-75Km at all ranges.[34]

It was successfully tested at the Chandipur Test Range in January 2013,[35] and on 20 December 2013.[36] From 20–23 May 2016, four rounds of the Pinaka Mk-II were successfully fired from the test range of Proof and Experimental Establishment (PXE) at Chandipur-on-sea for testing a new guidance system.[37][38] On 12 January 2017 and 24 January 2017, two successful tests was conducted with range of 65 km and 75 km respectively from Launch Complex-III, Integrated Test Range, Chandipur.[33][39][34][40][41] On 30 May 2018, two rounds of tests were successfully conducted from Launch Complex-III, ITR, Chandipur.[42][43] Another round of tests was conducted successfully on 11 March 2019.[44] An extended range version was tested for a range up to 90 km on 19 December 2019,[8] followed by another test on 20 December.[45]

Pinaka Mark 2 manufactured by Solar Industries completed User Assisted Technical Trial (USTT) on 8 December 2021 and will now go for user trial which will be completed by March 2022. While Yantra India Limited (YIL) is developing prototype of Pinaka Mark 2 due to delay in transfer of technology by ARDE.[22]

Future PlansEdit

Pinaka-ER.

The Pinaka is in the process of further improvement. Israel Military Industries teamed up with DRDO to implement its Trajectory Correction System (TCS) on the Pinaka, for further improvement of its CEP. This has been trialled and has shown excellent results.[46] The rockets can also be guided by GPS to improve their accuracy. A wraparound microstrip antenna has been developed by DRDO for this system.[47]

While the Pinaka will not be developed further into a larger system, its success and the experience gained from the programme has led the ARDE and its partner organisations, to launch a project to develop a long range MRL similar to the Smerch MLRS. A 7.2-metre rocket for the Pinaka MBRL, which can reach a distance of 120 km and carry a 250 kg payload will be developed.[48] 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. Integrating UAVs with the Pinaka is also in the pipeline, as DRDO intends to install guidance systems on these rockets to increase their accuracy. Sagem completed delivery of its Sigma 30 laser-gyro artillery navigation and pointing system to be equipped with the Pinaka multiple launch rocket system in June 2010.[49] The Sigma 30 artillery navigation and pointing system is designed for high-precision firing at short notice.

SpecificationsEdit

Pinaka Mk-I Pinaka ADM Pinaka Mk-II Pinaka Mk-I Enhanced Guided Pinaka ERR 122 Pinaka Mk-II ER
Range 37.5 km (23.3 mi) 60 km (37 mi) 45 km (28 mi) 75 km (47 mi) 40 km (25 mi) 90 km (56 mi)
Length 4.88 m (16.0 ft) 5.17 m (17.0 ft) 4.72 m (15.5 ft) 5.17 m (17.0 ft) 2.91 m (9 ft 7 in) Unknown
Rocket Diameter 214 mm (8.4 in) 122 mm (4.8 in)
Warhead weight 100 kg (220 lb) 100 kg (220 lb) + additional 15 kg (33 lb) for guidance, navigation and control kit 21 kg (46 lb)
Rocket Weight 277.4 kg (612 lb) 325 kg (717 lb) 280 kg (620 lb) 325 kg (717 lb) 66.5 kg (147 lb)
Propellant Weight 100 kg (220 lb) 131.5 kg (290 lb) 111 kg (245 lb) 131.5 kg (290 lb) 26.8 kg (59 lb)
Rate of fire Approximately 44 seconds. 40 rockets in 20 seconds
Accuracy ≤ 1.5% range ≤ 60m and <30m (CEP) with Trajectory Correction System ≤ 1.5% range
Salvo reload time 4 minutes. Unknown
Warheads PF, RHE, DPICM HEPF, RHE
Detonation mechanism Electronic time and Proximity fuze Proximity and Contact fuze
Guidance Free flight Inertial navigation system + Satellite navigation Free flight
Flight stabilization 4 curved wrapped around fins 6 flat wrapped around fins 6 flat wrapped around fins (without fin cant) 4 curved wrapped around fins
Launching pod 2 detachable pods, each carrying 6 rockets 2 detachable pods, each carrying 4 rockets Fixed cluster of 40 rockets
Launcher
  • Based on a Kolos Tatra truck for high mobility. The truck is rebadged in India by BEML.
  • The truck features a central type regulation system; the driver can adjust the tyre pressure to suit the terrain for optimum mobility.
  • A total of six launchers per battery.
  • Launchers are NBC protected, have their own computerized fire control system, and automatic positioning system.
  • Designed for shoot and scoot fire missions by using inertial navigation system.[50]
  • A battery of six launchers can neutralize an area of roughly 1,000 × 800 m at 40 km range.
  • The launcher assembly has electro-magnetic elevation and traverse, with traverse being 90° left and right of the centreline and elevation up to 55°
Upgraded BM-21 Grad by Larsen & Toubro.[51][52]
Status (as of December 2021) Induction complete. Under bulk production. Increased firepower demo complete.[22] User Assisted Technical Trial complete. Max range demo trials complete. Range and accuracy demo complete. Under trials. Under testing.[53][54]

OperatorsEdit

  India

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit

Technical:

  • DRDO Technology Focus : Warhead for Missiles, Torpedoes and Rockets
  • Artillery Rocket Systems
  •   Media related to Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher at Wikimedia Commons