Thursday, December 15, 2011

DRDO Projects-Armaments


DRDO often cooperates with the state owned Ordnance Factory Board for producing its items. These have led to issues of marginal quality control for some items, and time consuming rectification. Whilst these are common to the introduction of most new weapons systems, the OFB has had issues with maintaining the requisite schedule and quality of manufacture owing to their own structural problems and lack of modernisation. Criticism directed at the OFB is invariably used for the DRDO, since the users often make little distinction between the developer and the manufacturer. OFB has got more access to funding in recent days, and this is believed to have helped the organization meet modern day requirements.
Even so, India's state owned military apparatus meets the bulk of its ammunition. The DRDO has played a vital role in the development of this ability since the role of private organizations in the development of small arms and similar items has been limited. A significant point in case is the INSAS rifle which has been adopted by the Indian Army as its standard battle rifle and is in extensive service. There have been issues with rifle quality in usage under extreme conditions in the heat, the OFB has stated that it will rectify these troubles with higher grade material and strengthening the unit for extreme conditions. Prior troubles were also dealt with in a similar manner. In the meanwhile, the rifle has found favour throughout the army formations and has been ordered in number by other paramilitary units and police forces.
In recent years, India's booming economy has allowed the OFB to modernise with more state funding coming its way, to the tune of US$400 million to be invested during 2002-07. The organization hopes that this will allow it to modernise it's infrastructure; it has also begun introducing new items, including a variant of the Ak-47 and reverse engineered versions of the Denel 14/20 mm anti-material rifles.
In the meanwhile, the DRDO has also forged partnerships with several private sector industrial partners, which have allowed it to leverage their strengths. Successful examples of this include the Pinaka MBRL, which has been assisted significantly by two private developers, Larsen and Toubro Ltd. as well as TATA, apart from several other small scale industrial manufacturers.
The DRDO's various projects are as follows:

Small arms

Insas Assault Rifle
  • The INSAS weapon system has become the standard battle rifle for the Indian Army and paramilitary units. Bulk production of a LMG variant commenced in 1998. It has since been selected as the standard assault rifle of theRoyal Army of Oman
  • In 2010, DRDO completed the development of Oleo-resin plastic hand grenades (partly derived from the potent Bhut Jholokia chilli found in north-east India), as a less lethal way to control rioters, better tear gas shells and short-range laser dazzlers.

Artillery systems and ammunition

  • Pinaka Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher: This system has seen significant success.This system saw the DRDO cooperate extensively with the privately owned industrial sector in India.
  • A new Long Range Tactical Rocket System, not yet publicly named. The DRDO has commenced a project to field a long range Tactical strike system, moving on from the successful Pinaka project. The aim is to develop a long range system able to strike at a range of 100–120 km, with each rocket in the system, having a payload of up to 250 kg. The new MBRS's rocket will have a maximum speed of 4.7 mach and will rise to an altitude of 40 km, before hitting its target at 1.8 mach. There is also a move to put a guidance system on the rockets whilst keeping cost constraints in mind. The DRDO has acquired the IMI-Elisra developed trajectory control system and its technology, for use with the Pinaka, and a further development of the system could presumably be used with the new MBRL as well.
  • DRDO's ARDE developed 81 mm and the, 120 mm illuminating bombs and 105 mm illuminating shells for the Indian Army's infantry and Artillery.
  • A 51 mm Light Weight Infantry Platoon Mortar for the Indian Army. A man portable weapon, the 51 mm mortar achieves double the range of 2-inch (51 mm) mortar without any increase in weight. Its new HE bomb uses pre-fragmentation technology to achieve vastly improved lethality vis a vis a conventional bomb. Besides HE, a family of ammunition consisting of smoke, illuminating and practice bombs has also been developed. The weapon system is under production at Ordnance Factories.
  • Proximity fuses for missiles and artillery shells. Proximity fuses are used with artillery shells for "air bursts" against entrenched troops and in anti-aircraft and anti-missile roles as well.
  • Training devices: These include a mortar training device for the 81 mm mortar used by the infantry, a mortar training device for the 120 mm mortar used by the artillery, and a 0.50-inch (13 mm) subcalibre training device for 105 mm Vijayanta tank gun.
  • The Indian Field Gun, a 105 mm field gun was developed for the Indian Army and is in production.This was a significant challenge for the OFB, and various issues were faced with its manufacture including reliability issues and metallurgical problems. These were rectified over time.
  • Submerged Signal Ejector cartridges (SSE), limpet mines, short range anti-submarine rockets (with HE and practice warheads), the Indian Sea Mine which can be deployed against ships and submarines both. The DRDO also designed short and medium range ECM rockets which deploy chaff to decoy away anti-ship homing missiles. In a similar vein, they also developed a 3 in (76.2 mm) PFHE shell, prefragmented and with a proximity fuse, for use against anti-ship missiles and other targets, by the Navy. All these items are in production
  • For the Indian Air Force, DRDO has developed Retarder Tail Units and fuze systems for the 450 kg bomb used by strike aircraft, 68 mm "Arrow" rockets (HE, Practice and HEAT) for rocket pods used in an air to ground and even air to air (if need be), a 450 kg high speed low drag (HSLD) bomb and practice bombs (which mimic different projectiles with the addition of suitable drag plates) and escape aid cartridges for Air Force aircraft. All these items are in production.

Tank armament

DRDO's ARDE also developed other critical systems, such as the Arjun Main Battle Tank's 120 mm rifled main gun and is presently engaged inxx the development of the armament for the Future IFV, the "Abhay". The DRDO is also a member of the trials teams for the T-72 upgrade and its Fire control systems. Earlier on, the DRDO also upgraded the Vijayanta medium tank with new fire control computers.

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