The indigenous defence capabilities of India are on the rise as the capabilities of state-run Defence research and Development Organization (DRDO) get showcased with the trial of the Pinaka weapon system and the maiden flight of indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system. While the Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher (MBRL) underwent a demonstration trial in Orissa in eastern India, the maiden flight of indigenously developed AEW&C took place at Sao Jose dos Campos in Brazil.
The demonstration trial of the homegrown Pinaka MBRL weapon system was conducted in the presence of Indian Army personnel and DRDO scientists at a defence base in Balasore, Orissa. According to sources, four rounds of test-firing were conducted during the trial of Pinaka weapon system. The demonstration trial was meant to neutralise a large geographical area with a rapid salvo of rockets. The Pinaka MBRL system has a maximum range of 40 kilometres and can fire a salvo of 12 rockets in 44 seconds, neutralizing a target area of 3.9 square kilometers. One salvo each of 12 rockets from a battery of six launchers could neutralise a target area of 3.9 square kilometers at a time. The Pinaka system is mounted on a Tatra truck for mobility.
According to Indian Army and DRDO, the Pinaka weapon system will act as a force multiplier. It is an unguided rocket system and an area weapon system aimed at supplementing the existing artillery guns at a range beyond 30 kilometres. Pinaka has a quick reaction time, high accuracy and high rate of fire which can heighten the combat edge of the armed forces during low-intensity war-like situations. Pinaka MBRL can also accommodate various kinds of warheads making it very lethal for destroying solid structures and bunkers.
While DRDO-developed Pinaka MBRL underwent its demonstration trial in India, yet another DRDO-developed equipment, namely the Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C), was subjected to its maiden flight in Brazil. The DRDO has conducted the maiden flight of the AEW&C system at a special facility in Sao Jose dos Campo, Brazil. According to DRDO, the first fully modified Brazilian Embraer aircraft fitted with Indian AEW&C took to the skies with about 1000 mission system components developed by DRDO lab, the Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS). India will receive two aircraft by the middle of 2012, which will be equipped with various systems and electronic components, currently being tested at CABS.
According to DRDO Chief V K Saraswat, the successful first test-flight of the AEW&C is a major milestone towards realising the dream of indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control system, which will put India into a select club of countries. After the Braazlian Embraer aircraft are delivered, the mission systems developed by various DRDO labs will be integrated into them. Currently these systems are undergoing ground integration and evaluation at CABS and the delivery of these aircraft with fully integrated mission control system is expected to take place by the end of 2013, DRDO chief added.
One of the crucial components in AEW&C is the Active Electronic Scanning Antenna (AESA) radar, which has a superior reach and capability. The AESA radar is developed by Bangalore-based Centre for Airborne Studies. The various systems developed by DRDO are currently being integrated on specially designed Embraer aircraft with capability of tracking airborne objects in all directions. While the first indigenous aircraft will undergo full certification process over the next two years, India will receive two aircraft by the middle of 2012, which will be equipped with various systems and electronic components are currently being tested at CABS.