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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pakistan’s Commanding Lead

While the Indian Army continues to wait in vain for even its 130mm M-46 towed howitzers to be upgraded to 155mm/45-cal standard, the Pakistan Army is quietly but swiftly replacing its 400 Type 59-1 towed howitzers (a clone of the M-46 built by China North Industries Corp, or NORINCO) with the GM-45, developed in the early 1980s by the 123 Factory, 127 Factory, and 674 Factory of China’s 5th Ministry of Machine-building and Beijing Univeristy of Science and Technology in cooperation with NORICUM (now Voest-Alpine Stahl AG) of Austria. The 155mm/45-cal GM-45, also built by NORINCO, is a conversion of the Type 59-1 (M-46) to accommodate the ordnance of the standard production NORINCO 155mm/45-cal WA-021 howitzer. The firing rate 4 rounds/minute. Recoil is variable and loading and breech operations are manual. To increase the rate of fire a flick rammer has been installed on the left side and hydraulically operated wheels have been added to each trail assembly to ease the opening and closing of the trails. The GM-45 also has a two-wheeled dolly, which is attached under the rear of the closed trails. According to NORINCO, when firing an ERFB 155mm projectile, the GM-45 has a maximum muzzle velocity of 897 metres/second. It can also fire NORINCO-built 155mm laser-guided projectiles.

With this latest acquisition, the Pakistan Army will continue to maintain its commanding lead over the Indian Army when it comes to field artillery assets and capabilities. The Pakistan Army’s field artillery enhancement efforts began in 2008 when its Chief of the Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, visited Beijing in September 2008 and inked a contract to procure an initial 36 A-100E 300mm multi-barrel rocket launchers and two SLC-2 active phased-array weapons locating radars. This followed a round of competitive evaluations conducted by the Pakistan Army of the A-100E (built by CPMIEC of China) and the competing AR-2, another 300mm MBRL built by NORINCO. Also expected to be procured in the near future from China are approximately 190 SH-1 155mm/52-calibre motorised howitzers. The A-100E, developed by CPMIEC, comprises a 300mm 10-tube launch vehicle, reloading vehicle and command-and-control vehicles, all of which are mounted on the WS-2400 8 x 8 wheeled chassis. All 10 rockets can be fired within 60 seconds, and it can be reloaded in 20 minutes. The NORINCO-built AR-2 MBRL, on the other hand, has 12 launch tubes from which rockets armed with a wide variety of warheads are fired. The warhead options include fragmentation sub-munitions warhead, anti-tank mine scattering warhead, shaped-charge fragmentation submunitions warhead, separable HE-fragmentation warhead, fuel-air explosive warhead, and HE-fragmentation warhead.

The NORINCO-built SH-1 motorised 155mm/52-calibre howitzer underwent extensive mobility and firepower trials in December 2007 in Pakistan’s Northern Areas, and underwent similar field trials in June 2008 in the Cholistan Desert. The SH-1 can fire rocket-assisted V-LAP projectiles out to 53km, as well as laser-guided projectiles like NORINCO’s ‘Red Mud’ and KBP Instrument Design Bureau’s Krasnopol-M2. The SH-1 can also fire base-bleed 155mm rounds out to 42.5km, and its truck chassis houses a fibre-optic gyro-based north positioning-cum-navigation system, battlespace management system, autonomous orientation-cum-muzzle velocity radar, gun loader’s display-cum-ramming control box, ammunition box housing 25 rounds (of seven different types) and their modular charges, and a network-centric artillery fire direction system. A complete SH-1 Regiment comprises 24 SH-1s, four Battery Command Post vehicles, one Battalion Command Post vehicle, one road-mobile CETC-built JY-30 C-band meteorological radar, four 6 x 6 wheeled reconnaissance vehicles, and an S-band CETC-built SLC-2 artillery locating-cum-fire correction radar.
On September 9, 2008 the Pakistan Army accepted at its Nowshera-based School of Artillery the first of twelve 18-tonne T-155 Panter 155mm/52-calibre towed howitzers from Turkey’s state-owned Machines and Chemical Industry Board (MKEK), along with the Aselsan-built BAIKS-2000 field artillery battery fire direction system. The Panter was co-developed in the late 1990s by MKEK and Singapore Technologies Kinetics. For producing the 155mm family of munitions, Wah Cantonment-based Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) has teamed up with South Korea’s Poongsan and on April 12, 2008 Gen Kayani symbolically received the first lot of licence-assembled K-307 BB-HE and K-310 155mm BB dual purpose improvised conventional munitions (DPICM) Ammunition from POF. On the other hand, Nexter Munitions of France has provided the licence to POF for manufacturing 155mm smoke and illuminating rounds.

On the other hand, the Indian Army’s field artillery rationalisation plan, especially its M-46 upgrade component, continues to languish, despite an assertion by the then Indian Army’s Chief of the Army Staff Gen Deepak Kapoor in January 2010 that the M-46 upgrade project will be re-launched towards the end of the  11th (2007-2012) Defence Plan. This may sound extremely depressing, but there is a reason why the upgraded M-46S 155mm/45-calibre towed howitzers have gone missing from the Republic Day and Army Day parades since 2007. One may recall that in 1990, the Indian Army firmed up its plans for upgrading the M-46s and a year later the Ministry of Defence (MoD) approved the plan. In-country field trials of the upgraded prototypes were carried out in 1993, but the MoD took another five years to sanction the funds. Between 1993 and 1994, the MoD had purchased 480 M-46 130mm towed howitzers worth Rs100,000 each, of which 100 howitzers come from the Czech Republic, and 380 from Russia, to add to the 550 M-46s purchased in the 1970s. During firepower trials conducted at the Pokhran Field Range in 1997-1998, one M-46S upgraded by SOLTAM Systems (but utilising the carriage and recoil system of the original gun) to the 155mm/45-cal standard was test-fired using extended-range base-bleed ammunition out to a range of 39km. In March 2000, SOLTAM Systems won a contract (after bidding against four other contractors) worth $47,524,137 for upgrading 180 M-46s to 155mm/45-cal M-46S standard. A follow-on deal was optioned for, under which SOLTAM was required to provide kits to OFB further retrofit another 250 M-46s. On November 29, 2001 the MoD confirmed that the OFB’s Jabalpur-based Gun Carriage Factory had started receiving 180 M-46S howitzer upgrade kits from SOLTAM. However, the project was temporarily suspended by the MoD in mid-2002 because of quality problems centered on the barrels and breech blocks of the guns. In July 2003, successful user trials of a re-engineered M-46S were conducted. On paper, 430 upgraded M-46S 155mm/45-cal towed howitzers (for 20 Regiments) were to be supplied (since 2002) by the state-owned Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) under licence from Israel’s SOLTAM Systems, making the M-46S the Army’s tube artillery system with the longest reach, being able to fire ERFB-BB rounds out to 38.5km and VLAP rounds out to 42km when using bi-modular charges.

In fact, so upbeat was the OFB about this upgrade programme that it even began showcasing it at international defence expos, starting with the IDEX expo in Abu Dhabi in March 2003. The upgraded M-46S, labelled by the OFB as Metamorphosis IOB M46 FG, came fitted with a large double baffle muzzle brake and a 23-litre chamber, with the ordnance having 48 grooves and a 1-inch/20-cal rifling rate (right-hand constant twist). According to the OFB, no modifications are made to the existing breech block, while failure of self-sealing systems during combat was overcome by the use of a stub cartridge case obturator similar to the obturating system of the original M-46. Conversion lead time was said to be minimal as there was no modification to the breech block mechanism and no change in the travel lock, cradle and recoil systems of the original M-46. The only modification to the horizontal sliding breech block was a widening to allow for the insertion of larger-calibre 155mm rounds. The split-trail carriage, elevating mechanism, shield and two-wheeled limber of the original M-46 were also retained. When travelling the Metamorphosis IOB M46 FG was to be withdrawn to the rear by the standard chain mechanism located on the right side. The original two-wheeled limber was retained, and to reduce operator fatigue, a three-cylinder telescopic rammer with eight-bar nitrogen gas pressure and pneumatic circuit was fitted, as was an in-built safety mechanism.

The bad news is that the M-46S programme was terminated after only 40 howitzers were modified, this being due to a fatal barrel explosion taking place in 2005. Army HQ subsequently asked the MoD to terminate this project for good and initiate legal proceedings against SOLTAM and seek liquidated damages. Things subsequently moved at a glacial pace and it was only on February 19, 2010 that bthe MoD’s Additional Directorate General of Weapons and Equipment issued an RFI for upgunning the M-46, for which once again there were five bidders, including SOLTAM Systems and Holland-based Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij (RDM). However, till today, no RFPs have been issued for this programme, while the DRDO continues its once-failed efforts to revive its Metamorphosis IOB M46 FG proposal.—Prasun K. Sengupta


Anonymous said...

forgive me for ignorance, but what is the difference between self propelled and motorized howitzers? are they one and the same.

Rahul said...

Prasun Sir.

For meeting long terms requirement DRDO has shown interest and proposed development of indigenous FHG. How much it is feasible?

Prabin Roy said...

Prasunda, u said Prahaar is an EXTRA?? doesn't look like it mate??

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@6.22AM: In today's world all howitzers are self-propelled. The difference is between tactical and strategic mobility. The 155mm towed howitzers (with the sole exception of the LW-155) today come with an APU which gives them tactical mobility and they make use of tow trucks for strategic mobility. Tracked and motorised howitzers possess both tactical and strategic mobility.

To Rahul: What the DRDO has been referring to is the revival of the Metamorphosis IOB M46 FG project. The DRDO does not have the capability to design and develop a new-generation field howitzer from scratch.

Prabin Roy: I NEVER said that Prahaar will be an EXTRA. I never stated that the Prahaar will be an identical copy of EXTRA. All I had said was that the Prahaar will be an EXTRA projectile with Indian characteristics. There's a huge difference between what I had said and what folks at large are assuming and putting words into my mouth. After having seen the photos of the Prahaar's technology demonstrator, the following questions need to be asked about the DRDO's claims:
1) Where was the six-unit cannisterised launcher that the DRDO was claiming to have developed?
2) How does one interpret the term "payload of 250kg"? What does the payload encompass? Is it just the explosive warhead or is it inclusive of the terminal guidance/navigation system?
3) What kind of warhead/s or smart munitions are meant to go on board the Prahaar?
4) What will be the weight of the missile body as it closes in on to its target?
5) Where is the proof that the technology demonstrator missile on its maiden launch achieved a CEP of less than 10 metres? If indeed the accuracy was as has been claimed, then why not demonstrate it over a land range like the Pokhran/Mahajan Field Range, like Pakistan did with the maiden test-firing of the Hatf-9/Nasr missile? Even the BrahMos has been repeatedly fired within land-based firing ranges.
Merely encasing a precision-guided munition within the body of an existing missile does not make it into a DRDO designed-and-developed product. One has to dig deeper and analyse the missile's design/performance parameters based on what the end-user--the Indian Army--had specified way back in 2004. Only once these questions are answered will one be able to present a realistic picture. As for details on the Prahaar's warhead section and its contents, I had already spelt them out much earlier. And mind you, I was the first to state that the Prahaar will be an NLOS-type vertically-launched missile that can be fired in all directions covering the entire azimuth plane.

Black Hawk said...

why do you say the DRDO can not develop a howitzer from scratch? they did develop a 120mm gun for the Arjun. Also how long will it take the DRDO to reverse engineer the FH-77 into a 52 cal version and mount that on a TATRA truck?

Anonymous said...

You said: "The Prahaar will have a range of 150km and carry a 125kg (275lb) warhead. Launch weight will be about 430kg (990lb), and CEP will be well within 10 metres."

Obviously wrong...

and btw it was u who said last time that Pak does tests over land because it's scared chinese components wioll be recovered my others who'll blow the lid, despite considerable risk. india did not test over land bcoz it is an all new system!!

its not like as though ALL your questions get answered when any missile is tested, not even Agni.. dude, it's only a few hours since the test

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Black Hawk: Very good question, one only the DRDO can answer, since it is the DRDO which is insisting that a 155mm/45-cal howitzer is good enough for the Indian Army, and not a 155mm/52-cal howitzer. And from where does the DRDO acquire a 155mm/52-cal howitzer for reverse-engineering? The existing FH-77B has a 39-cal barrel.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@4.57PM: Again you're misquoting me. What I had said was this: "The EXTRA projectile, which has served as inspiration for the Prahaar, has a range of 150km and carries a 125kg (275lb) warhead. Launch weight is about 430kg (990lb), and CEP is well within 10 metres. The Prahaar's payload compartment is being developed by the DRDO in cooperation with Israel Aircraft Industries’ (IAI) MLM Systems Integration Division and Israel Military Industries’ (IMI) Rocket Systems Division as a modular kit."
Lastly, if you say that the Prahaar is an all-new system, then can you explain why everyone else is trying in vain to compare it with the AAD missile? Are you saying that there's nothing in common between the Prahaar and AAD? And since when has the DRDO acquired the capability to develop a missile from scratch within a 2-year timeframe, as the DRDO is now claiming, when even much less complicated missiles like the Trishul and Astra have taken two decades to materialise? And where's the much hyped-about six-pack launcher? Even the land-attack version of the BrahMos on its maiden launch had used a definitive production-standard TEL.

buddha said...

What about M777 Deal
is it on

Anonymous said...

What Choices we have besides issuing a new RFI, the logical part is for a cheap upgrade of M46 & FH77 if possible, New RFI is new mess..

Also if DRDO developed a 52cal barrel then is it possible to upgrade remaining FH-77 and if possible FH77 ?

Also what abt Private BEML tot of 52cal barrel from Slovakia ?

Pls tell, what is left we can do, any ideas you have ?

I will wait for your reply..

Thank you !

Mr. Ra said...

It is late, but DRDO should develop the required Artillery.

BTW is it possible to manipulate the use of CL-20 in artillery so as to compensate for the effects of lower caliber.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To buddha: Yes, it is on.

To Anon@2.21PM: I agree with you that the only option left is issuance of new RFPs for another round of competitive bidding. The DRDO does not have any in-house capability for designing a 52-calibre barrel for a 155mm howitzer. It can only develop a 39-cal barrel based on the design documents supplied by Bofors AB in 1986, and a 45-cal barrel based on documentation supplied by SOLTAM Systems in 2004. But while the IPR for the 39-cal barrel is now owned by the OFB, that of the 45-cal barrel is still owned by SOLTAM Systems. Regarding the BEML/Zuzana issue, what Slovakia had offered was just screwdriver technology, i.e. to licence-assemble the Zuzana. The logical way forward as I had explained several times before is to urgently hold competitive trials for the motorised 155mm/52-cal howitzer with the proviso that only those systems that can be airlifted by C-130J-30-type transport aircraft will be considered for procurement.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the proposed 300mm calibre Pinaka with 140 km range????
That versition can easily surpass any thing that PA can field in forseeble future.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Mr RA: CL-20 isn't reqd for field artillery rounds since the 155mm prohectiles are pretty accurate especially when guided by counter-battery radars. Bit what is also desperately reqd now by the Indian Army are road-mobile 120mm rapid-firing breech-loaded mortars (like the SRAM from ST Kinetics) that can fire laser-/IR-guided rounds. Check this out:

To Anon@4.08PM: The so-called 300mm MBRL being developed by DRDO is just a re-engineered Smerch-M that is several years away from being fielded. The 214mm Pinaka MBRL's range is only 37.5km. Presently, the Pakistan Army's long-range artillery assets, including the 800km-range Babur cruise missile, can overwhelm everything that the Indian Army can field. A prime target of the Babur will be the Indian Army's BrahMos mobile autonomouis launchers.

Mr. Ra said...

Nice it is.

What is the max range and weight of warhead.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Mr RA: The round is a standard 120mm projectile. Max range is 9km. The SRAMS was first brought to India four years ago when the Singapore Army's armoured formations began arriving in India for annual field training exercises.

Anonymous said...

plz read

comment on Hull and turret modifications will give the Mk II a smaller silhouette and reduce its size from 59-64) tons, a weight that has limited its operational and logistic manoeuvrability to a target of about 55 tons. is this your state 54 tons goal fbmt or mk 3.

Anonymous said...

Babur is a subsonic cruise missile and their trajectory is somewhat similar to those pilotles target aircrafts,against whom our SAM crews and AA gunners regularly get trained.Besides,if needed the Babur missiles can be taken out with Agni 1 ballistic missiles and Shourya hypersonic missiles.So it's an overexaggretion that PA can overwhelm anything IA can field.But one thing I would like to ask is when the 'reverse engineered' Smerch will be ready?Can you suggest a possible date?
Thanks in advance.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@11.09PM: Do kindly note that the pilotless target drones being used in India are not of the high-subsonic type and neither are they terrain-hugging. The Babur has high subsonic cruise speed and also a bterrain-hugging flight profile. Secondly, as the Agni-1 is equipped with nuclear warheads only, it will never be used to destroy the launch sites of conventional warhead-carrying cruise missiles. The Shaurya can, but strangely it has not yet been approved for bulk production by the GoI. Therefore, as of now, Pakistan scores over India in areas of both cruise and ballistic missiles. My personal views is that a reverse-engineered or even a re-engineered Smerch-M is an impossibility. Instead, what the DRDO needs to do is develop low-cost tactical battlefield support missiles of the NLOS type which can rapidly drop sensor-fused munitions (anti-armour and anti-personnel) over a desired target area with high accuracy, with such accuracies being achieved through integrated inertial navigation systems (fibre-optic gyro coupled to a PY-code GPS receiver) installed on board the missile, and RLG-INS system installed on the missile launch vehicle. In fact, this is exactly what the Indian Army wants and has specified (the Hatf-9/Nasr/P-20 already has such capabilities). This is what the Army wishes the 'Prahaar' would finally be, and not what was test-fired on July 21. More about all this, with several photos of the definitive Prahaar's and Shaurya's navigation and terminal guidance systems will appear in the August 2011 issue of FORCE magazine, along with details of the timelines for deployment of such missiles, plus an analysis of the weaknesses of the Prithvi-2's deployment patterns.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@10.23PM: Many thanks for posting the scanned article, whuich is factually an almost exact copy of what I had written in FORCE magazine's April 2011 issue. The Arjun Mk2's frontal hull section has not been redesigned or re-engineered. But the rear section housing the new powerpack has been both redesigned and re-engineered to cater for IR signature reduction purposes. The box-type turret configuration has given way to the sloping type (on the front and sides) by incorporation of sloped modular armour tiles. According to the end-user--the Indian Army--weight reduction is no longer necessary for the Mk2 as the 1,500hp powerpack is now available with the overdrive mode. For the Arjun Mk3 which the Army is in favour of infucting by 2020, weight increases of up to 65 tonnes is perfectly fine, but incorporation of a larger 55-calibre 120mm main gun is imperative.
The FMBT is now just a term of usage for the DRDO and does not have any supporters within Army HQ simply because the DRDO's bombastic claims of being able to develop a 50-tonne vehicle over the next 9 years are not being believed by any sane individual. It woul;d therefore be safe to assume that the DRDO will not be allowed to continue with its discredited daydreams about developing a 50-tonne MBT when even countries like the US, Germany and France will in future be seen to be using MBTs that are as heavy as 67.5 tonnes. It is therefore high time the DRDO ceases engaging in kite-flying and instead focusses on what is achievable in realistic terms.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun!
I remember reading a month ago a comment by someone at BRF about a senior ex-Indian Army officer writing an article in FORCE magazine about the M-46S upgrade being completed. Your comments?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@4.24AM: Yeah, I remember that ill-conceived and ignorant comment by some guy called rohitvats. Nerds like him ignorantly presume that since some thoughts are penned by retired military officials these thoughts will be the gospel truth. The facts speak otherwise, and here's why: In the February 2010 issue of FORCE magazine there was an interview published of the then Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor in which he repeated pretty much what he had said on the eve of Army Day a month earlier. In the interview, the Army Chief had very clearly spelt out the field artillery modernisation targets yet to be achieved, which included the M-46 ungunning project. He also said that the project would take off before the end of the current 5-year defence plan (which ends in 2012). Therefore, these BR wannabes, who don't have access to publications like FORCE, and who in any case are never even invited to such press conferences/interviews, often end up getting kicked big time in their 6 'o clocks due to their devious naivety. Therefore, such mischievous elements cannot be regarded as friends of India. The same goes for those who naively swallow all the tall claims and empty but bombastic boasts that are routinely churned out by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) nowadays, be it about BMD, or ballistic/cruise missiles, which has sadly reduced the DRDO to a laughing stock in the eyes of the world. I will highlight some of the DRDO's 'kite-flying' activities and outrageous claims fairly soon.

Anonymous said...

is it really possible to make defence after launch on terrain hugging cruise missiles? considering the widely published gaps in our border radar surveillance.

Anonymous said...

is arjun mk2 going to use the very same gun on the mk1 ??

does pinaka mlrs have any guidance system or is just like throwing a stone in the air ??

why isn't drdo developing any smart munitions like gps guided artillery shells and mortars ?

is drdo going to develop a new rifle for the finsas project ??

how much thrust will the ge414 in56 will it going to be around 100-110 since it is said that it will be the highest thrust variant or will it be the 120kn epe ??

which engine and transmission has been used on the mk2 prototypes that went in the trials recently ??

is there any word about the attack helo competition ??

plzz give some info on the bms which will be used in the arjun tanks...some links wud be very helpfull...

instead of investing in the an 70 why are we going for the il214 ??
why didn't IAF choose the an70 instead ??as far as lifting capability is concerned it will able to carry 2 bmp icvs (or even upcoming) ficv and the t 72 mbt plus it propfan engines what more can anybody ask for !!!??

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,
In parliament A.K.Antony had stated that the IAF was in the process of inducting 20 israelli and 8 DRDO medium power AESA radar with a range of 340 km against fighters.Any news about that DRDO MPR??
Thanks in advance.t the IAF was in the process of inducting 20 israelli and 8 DRDO medium power AESA radar with a range of 340 km against fighters.Any news about that DRDO MPR??
Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Prasun sir,
Any news about the Nirbhay cruise missle??And what the hel GoI is thinking??Why the hell such a brilliant missile like Shourya is not cleared for bulk production??This particular missile can wreck havok in the enemy and greatly surpass anything the PA can throw at us.Even the IA wants to replace the Prithvi2 with Shaurya.Any idea about the possible induction date??I remember you had stated about a 140 km range MBRL under development by ARDE.What happened to that??Besides,I think the upgraded Mig 27s and Jaguar Darin3s of IAF can easily destroy the pakistani artillery and cruise missile sites.Don't you think so??Please notify your views.Will be greatful to you.
ise missle??And what the hel GoI is thinking??Why the hell such a brilliant missile like Shourya is not cleared for bulk production??This particular missile can wreck havok in the enemy and greatly surpass anything the PA can throw at us.Even the IA wants to replace the Prithvi2 with Shaurya.Any idea about the possible induction date??I remember you had stated about a 140 km range MBRL under development by ARDE.What happened to that??Besides,I think the upgraded Mig 27s and Jaguar Darin3s of IAF can easily destroy the pakistani artillery and cruise missile sites.Don't you think so??Please notify your views.Will be greatful to you.

Anonymous said...

Prasun ji,any news about the Akash mk2,its range,top speed,guidence mechanism and radar??Heare it will have 50+ km range,a monopulse active seeker and an indigenous AESA target acquisition radar.Can you please confirm these??You are the best defence journo in my view.Keep up the good job.

Anonymous said...

Sorry sir,I can't agree with the fact that ARDE can't develop a 155mm artillery gun from scratch.Last year ARDE chief Anil Datar had stated that his organisation had produced a 185mm heavy howitzer decades ago.But I am a new here and can be very well wrong.So please keep patience and don't get angree upon me.
By the way,I don't think all of the Agni1 ballistic missiles are fitted with nuclear warheads.So those Agni 1s fitted with conventional warheads can be used to demolish the pakistani cruise missile sites if the need arises.What's your view on this aspect??Hope I did not bore artillery gun from scratch.Last year ARDE chief Anil Datar had stated that his organisation had produced a 185mm heavy howitzer decades ago.But I am a new here and can be very well wrong.So please keep patience and don't get angree upon me.
By the way,I don't think all of the Agni1 ballistic missiles are fitted with nuclear warheads.So those Agni 1s fitted with conventional warheads can be used to demolish the pakistani cruise missile sites if the need arises.What's your view on this aspect??Hope I did not bore you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun! I'm the same Anon@4.24AM. These BR guys are now claiming that retired officers like Brig Gurmeet Kanwal too have written about the M-46S upgraded having been completed. Your thoughts?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@10.17AM: The Arjun Mk2’s 120mm rifled bore gun will be the same as that on the Arjun Mk1. The Pinaka MBRL has a SAGEM-built Sigma-30 RLG-INS for land navigation and the IMI-supplied trajectory correction system (TCS) on the rocket. Why isn't the DRDO developing any smart munitions like GPS-guided artillery shells and mortars? It’s because the DRDO as of now lacks the core technological competencies reqd for developing such munitions. High-end nano-electronics and optronics isn’t the DRDO’s forte. The DRDO is not developing any new-generation SLR for the F-INSAS project. The rest of your questions were already answered in earlier posts.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@5.25AM: It is possible if a network of land-mobile AESA-based MMRs/MPRs is created.

To Anon@11.15AM: The so-called DRDO-developed AESA-based MPR exists only on paper. Had it been under development then it would have been showcased at last February's Aero India 2011 expo. FYI the Swathi WLR has been under development for almost a decade now and that's a PESA-based radar. And we have yet to see its emergence in its final shape and form. Therefore, better to take the RM's statement with a fistful of salt at the moment.

To Anon@12.08PM: The Akash Mk2 will have the same flight guidance system as the Akash Mk1, but the former will have a slant range of 40km. The missile with the monopulse active seeker you've mentioned will be the Barak-2 MR-SAM. Its engagement radar will be a ground-based variant of the S-band EL/M-2248 MF-STAR radar.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@1.34PM: The ARDE can develop 155mm/52-cal howitzers, but within what time-frame? 5 years? 10 years? 15 years? The requirement for such howitzers has been outstanding since the mid-1980s. So do you reckon we can afford to give the ARDE all the time that it wants to produce a 155mm howitzer? According to the DRDO's Firector-General and C-in-C of ther Strategic Forces Command, all missiles of the Agni family are strategic and are therefore armed with nuclear warheads.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@4.37PM: And isn’t this the very same Brig (ret’d) Gurmeet Kanwal that lamblasted the DRDO for obstructing the import of WLRs before the Kargil conflict of 1999 and consequently causing high casualties on the Indian side? The truth, on the other hand, is that when field artillery howitzers are conducting fire assaults from reverse hill slopes (as Pakistan did) over mountainous terrain, there’s no chance at all of any WLR (radar-based or acoustic sensor-based) being able to give accurate track coordinates reqd for retaliatory counter-battery fire. The Indian Army found this out between January 2001 and March 2004 when it evaluated BAE Systems’ Hostile Artillery Locating (HALO) system and SEL-THALES’ SMAD system (both acoustic weapon locating systems) in three different phases, as well as Ericsson’s Arthur WLR, which used an AESA-based MPR. I myself was present on-site during these evaluations and saw the end-result, which was an accuracy factor of less than 20%. After that, the Army permanently dropped its plans for deploying any kind of WLRs/AWLs over mountainous terrain. I bet the retired Army officers being counted upon as ‘reliable’ sources of information by these BR wannabes were not aware of such developments!!!
Another issue needs clarification, this being about the so-called ‘Mounted Guns’—the subject of several rants by the BR nerd. The Mounted Gun issue first arose in June 1999 during the Kargil conflict when Lt Gen Shamsher S Mehta, the then Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Planning and Systems), had proposed the leasing of 40 Denel/LIW-made G-6 motorised 155mm/45-cal SPHs with the eventual aim of acquiring them in large numbers once the border conflict ended. The proposal, which then moved rapidly upwards within the MoD for approval, had then stressed the ‘commonality’ factor between the G-6 and the tracked Bhim SPH. This proposal was ultimately rejected by the MoD’s Finance Department in the first quarter of 2005 as being impractical and too costly. Thus ended the saga of the ‘Mounted Gun’ and since then Army HQ is only talking about ‘motorised’ 155mm/52-cal howitzers.

Anonymous said...

Prasun Ji, one bloke called Shrinivasan has copy-pasted your photo (lifted from the Hyderabad-based BIC at
I still remember you were the first to upload this photo in your old TRISHULGROUP blog.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@5.43PM: Well, there you go!!! And the numbskull can't even tell between a BIC with BrahMos missiles being assembled and Agni ballistic missiles produced by BDL! As they say, pictures always do the talking. Proves my point about these BR nerds being totally clueless, mischievous and misinformed. Deshdrohis to the core (LoLz!).

Anonymous said...

sir have you edited the article on mk2 mrca ??
cuz if i'am not wrong earliar it said that the mk2 will have an improved payload of 5700kg while now it says that it will be 5000kg..??

why it is said that in56 wil be the highest thrust variant when it produces the same amount thrust as the baseline ge414 ie 98kn ??

are we considering the use of cfts on mk2 ??

ada was saying that there will be some changes in the rear fuselage....what kind of changes are expected ??

as it is said that tejas mk2 will be a meter which the nose will be extended and the rest of the changes will be in the fuselage....what i wanted to ask is that are extending the nose from the back end (where the nose largest) so as to fit in a bigger radar so as to fit in more no. of t/r modules of the aesa radar ??

will there be change in the shape of the intakes ?? why dont we gripen like intakes ??

since mk2 will be compareble to the best mrca out there....why is it that IAF doesn't want it use as a deep striker ?? it is definitly well protected that the ground strike aircraft it currently uses ie the jags and mig 27s ??

sie acc to you what wud be the diameter of the tejas's big radar antenna it can accomodate ?? will it be around 600mm ??
plus what wud the range of the tejas's aesa radar ofcourse just an estimate....

Anonymous said...

HI prasun,

Latest ciontroversy over TATRA trucks posted in Livefist.
India sources components for TATRA trucks from UK?
This is ridiculous.We should be capable of producing them ourselves.

any other scam in the making u can predict like this?

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,

Can you speculate on the militaryh technologies that chinese have developed and capabilities they will attain in their spoace programme?
(They are planning to launch a space station this year!)
What kind of effects this will have on India and US?

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,

How does US benefit from Military level exchanges between the US military and the Chinese PLA?

Why does their suspension grab media attention?

Anonymous said...

sir u said that super mki will use uprated engines...plz shed some more light on this...

will it be a upgrade or new engine will be taken..

whats the name of this uprated engine ?? is it the same which is going to be used on the fgfa ?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@3.15PM: Yes, I made that correction based on inputs received from ADA. I was told it is better to be safe than sorry and therefore ADA prefers to stick to the conservative estimate of 5 tonnes instead of 5.7 tonnes. The figures of course are still provisional and final figures will be available only after flight-tests. The F414-IN56’s thrust ratings have been fixed based on what’s required. Going beyond that figure will result in the entire airframe requiring redesigning and strengthening, which is not advisable as it will only delay the Tejas Mk2’s rollout. The CFTs are still under consideration, but are not top-priority. The rear fuselage will have to be strengthened and re-engineered minimally to accommodate the F414-IN56. The fuselage stretch will be confined to the section aft (behind) of the cockpit. Air intake shape will remain the same. MRCAs by nature are not used for deep interdiction, only for tactical battlefield interdiction. The Jaguars are MiG-27Ms are tactical interdictors now, the Su-30MKIs are deep interdictors. The diameter of the Tejas Mk2’s nose section stays the same, enough to house radars like the EL/M-2032 or EL/M-2052.

To Anon@8.31PM: Yes the TATAs and Ashok Leylands can produce heavy-duty trucks and have been doing so, but unfortunately they are not DPSUs and therefore always received the step-motherly treatment from the MoD’s Dept of Defence Production & Supplies, even though BEML produces only left-hand drive TATRA trucks. It is high time someone took steps to crucify the successive Ministers of State for Defence Production since the early 1980s for this state of affairs. I first wrote about this scam way back in 2005.

To Anon@8.35PM: China began its BMD programme way back in the 1970s and today it has proven ASAT capabilities. What China is now trying to do is launch an international space station with Russia’s help and chances are that with the help of Russian mediation, it may even invite India to have her own module/capsule as part of this station.

To Anon@9.07PM: In the US, unlike India, the armed services chiefs are legally authorised to conduct military diplomacy, which is good as it enables the US military chiefs to size up their Chinese counterparts. This is very important since in China there are always two corridors of power: the civilians led by the Premier, and the PLA led by the President and represented in the Politburo by the Central Military Commission, whose Chairman is the President himself. It is therefore high time in India too the post of Chief of Defence Staff was created so that he too could conduct such military diplomacy. The suspension grabs attention simply because the US is the world’s sole unchallenged superpower. That’s why this time when Admiral Mike Mullen visited Beijing, he was also granted an audience by the guy who next year will replace President Hu Jintao. That’s the kind of importance China attaches to its ties with the US.

To Anon@10.28PM: The Super Su-30MKis will use uprated/upgraded AL-31FPs, and not newly designed engines. The name stays the same as only the hot-section (engine core) will be changed. The FGFA is due to use the AL-41F, a completely new turbofan.

Anonymous said...

^^ many thanks for the reply sir...

but wait i got some more ques....!!

so it is final that mk2 will be using a 100kn engine....??

will ols 30 be upgraded in the mki upgrade ??

plus what are ranges for los 30 and ols 35 ??

pak fa also uses an ols but which one ?? is it new one or the same ols 35

was the upgrade of al31fp (which we use on our mkis) funded by us or by the ruskis ?

many ppl are saying that super mki will use a zhuk ae while others are saying that it will use a mires aesa which one will be exactly used ??

sir the launchers of the iron fist aps....are the hard kill munitions manually loaded ??

sir the levcons on naval lca do improve the maneuverability to some extent then why aren't we planning to use them on the IAF version ??

sir even the mk2 will be able to carry only 4 bvraams and 2 sraams while all other 4.5gen jets carry 6bvraams and 2sraams so why can't we use racks for twin bvraams like we are planning for other air to ground munitions....??

Anonymous said...

PKS: "The August 2011 issue of FORCE will contain an in-depth analysis of the Prahaar's R & D programme which began way back in 1998. It will contain several photos of the Prahaar's sub-systems and components/avionics developed by RCI and ASL. The same issue will also describe NLOS-BSMs of Chinese origin with photos, especially the P-20 Hatf-9/Nasr."

can u please scan it once its done?? are u permitted to do so?? thanku

Anonymous said...

Prasun sir,I remember you had stated about an indigenous 300mm calibre MBRL with 140 km range in development.What happened to that project?Any possible date of trial??

Anonymous said...

sir acc to you which irst system is best out there and why...

the ones i can name are ols 30,35 efts pirate , rafale osf and skyward irst systems...

buddha said...

sir what about the january 22 scheduled test of sagarika missile

it's long past no news............

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@9.56AM: The Tejas Mk2 will have the 98kN F414-IN56 turbofan. The OLS-30 won’t be upgraded as it is doing just fine. T-50 PAK-FA uses the OLS-35. The upgraded AL-31FP’s R & D was funded by Russia. The Phazotron JSC-developed Zhuk-AE was developed for the MiG-29 family of MRCAs. On the other hand, the radars for the Su-27 and Su-30 families were all developed by Tikhomirov NIIP. The upgrade for the Su-30MKI’s MMR does not call for the entire radar to be replaced, as that will be cost-prohibitive. Instead, Tikhomirov NIIP is following the same trend as that established by THALES for the RBE-2 and EuroRadar for the Captor-E, which is to retain the back-end LRUs of the existing radar while replacing the existing PESA or mechanically scanning antenna with an AESA-array antenna. Thus, for the Super Su-30MKI the existing NO-11M ‘Bars’ PESA-MMR’s passive phased-array will be replaced by the MIRES AESA array. Everything else stays the same, and you get a cost-effective AESA-based MMR. Hard-kill munitions for any APS are manually loaded. LEVCONs are primarily used for aircraft requiring reduced approach speeds when landing in restricted runway lengths, like that on aircraft carriers. The air force variant of the Tejas does not need such modifications since it will have enough runway length and will therefore not require reduced landing speed. For an aircraft the size of Tejas Mk2, carrying four BVRAAMs and two SRAAMs will more than suffice. Twin racks will apply only to smaller SRAAMs like the R-60, and not the R-73E.

To Anon@11.28AM: Regretably I will not be able to upload the scanned pages but maybe a month later I will upload the analysis with pictures.

To Anon@1.26PM; The 300mm MBRL will have an envisaged range of 120km, not 140km. The system is still being developed. It takes almost a decade to develop such systems from scratch.

To Anon@8.38PM: The Skyward IRST from Selex-Galileo of Italy is the best option available. Why? Read about it at:

To Buddha: There was never any missile by the name of Sagarika. Instead, Sagarika was the name of the DRDO’s project management group responsible for developing the B-05/K-15/Shaurya and K-4 ballistic missiles.

Mr. Ra said...

Nice replies and to the point.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Mr. RA: Thanks.

Anonymous said...

thank you sir , u r simply awesome !!!

Anonymous said...




Prasun K. Sengupta said...

Details and photos of the Hatf-9/Nasr/P-20 and other Chinese battlefield support missiles like the B-611M, BP-12A and SY-400 will all appear in the August 2011 issue of FORCE magazine. These missiles all have a CEP of less than 10 metres as they make use of GPS guidance provided by China's Beidou constellation of GPS satellites.

Anonymous said...

Could you please stop the one sided comments about DRDO? Do you know how much time UK is taking for the development of a new artillery gun or an APC? Do you got the numbers from various countries? Please do your research about the development cycle for any armament and you will see it not less than 5 years. So plz put the facts. ks

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon Above: What's one-sided for you is objectivity for me. Rest assured I have all the numbers that you refer to from various countries. No less than five years is fine, but what about no more than, eh? Venture to give me the facts here? A country like israel can develop the EL/M-2084 MPR within five years, but where on earth is the Swathi WLR, which has been under development since the early 2000s? Do I have to wait for 11 years to get this radar, when it is already obsolete? And what happened to the much touted Abhay ICV? Who is answerable for the all the R & D costs incurred thus far, now that the Abhay project has been scrapped in favour of a greenfield project by a consortium of private-sector companies? Get your facts right first before demanding this from others who have already done their homework!!! And FYI the UK is not developing any weapon system, but the MNC called BAE Systems that is doing so. In the UK there are no unanswerable and technically unaudited institutions like the DRDO.

Anonymous said...

Prasun Da,

I observed your participation in other forums but chanced upon your blog sometimes back.

Having gone through some of your writtings, I appreciate those very much. I appreciate your penetrating inquiries and presentation of details.

I really thought, there could have been or it was not possible in the enviroment to be a defense journalist (only journalist being some retired bloaks or not knowing DRDO propagandists). I used to be amaze at the dedication, understanding and clear headedness of those journlists who wrote so well about French - Vietnam conflict (Like "Street without Joy"), US ops in Vietnam, Isreal - Arab Wars etc which almost became texts books for Militaries. I thought, it would be difficult in India.

Things have changed and some good people even from Army (Like Ajay) have started joining the ranks. You have a good grounding and all potentails to be read as writter of a good text books for the young officers. Keep that in mind and go on.

DRDO always was very close to the heart of every budding officer as an institution that would command their respect. What a loss of opportunity by the Sceintist brahmins that every one just wishes not to hear their nomenclature. The Scientists became sterile, greedy and power seekers rather than innovators. They facilitated grafts for the sytem rather than beinf facilitators of its abolishion. Ah ! The time they have lost is too much in the history of a nation. I really do not know, the seekers and recognition / satisfaction greedy Brahminical scientists would become so lazy and non challant shudras in the progressing Kaliyuga inspite of every thing being given to them including good pay and status.

Thotha Chana Baje Ghana (the hollow gram sounds the most.)

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon Above: Many thanks for your thoughts. The problem is not the DRDO by itself. The biggest problem or deficiency in the country is the national security decision-making process, which still relies on the British Raj's paradigm of divide-and-rule. Hence, there's no unified policy-making apparatus or strategic visioning as such. On top of all this, people get brainwashed at times with slogans like INDIA RISING, thinking a that a billion + population base will solve all problems, little realising with without a strong and massive higher education infrastructure, there just isn't enough skilled manpower in the country. On top of that, capacity expansion of military-industrial infrastructrure is severely hamstrung due to the GoI's indecisiveness in terms of strategic divestment, thereby making the DPSUs perpetually dependent on ther MoD's annmual financial allocations. The need of the hour is a decisive and purposeful approach towards industrial reforms/divestments which will make the capital resources necessary to invest in R & D projercts, which is precisely what China has done since the 1990s. Financial autonomy can produce magical solutions and only after this is done will there be proper synergy between the DRDO, DPSUs and the private sector. In addition, the MoD's decision-making processes need to be deeply reformed as well, and creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff should be undertaken without any further delay. Obhectively speaking, I can't blame the DRDO for failing to produce the desired results, since the DRDO is only beholden to the 'Blind Men of Hindoostan' sitting at South Block.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

Continued from above....
Should you really be interested in reading thought-provoking analysis of India's national security challenges and the prevailing state of affairs, I recommend that you read the writings of Afmiral (Ret'd) Arun Prakash, the former Chief of the Naval Staff, as he is the only level-headed former armed services personality who can successfully and comprehensively articulate such thoughts. Sadly, others like him who can make similar contributions, lamentably, fail to do so and prefer to just fade away.

Anonymous said...

demiPrasun Da,

Well said.

The basic problem in India, is lack of Institutional machanism and wisdom to refelect on National Security perspective. The whole thing is stuck up in bureaycratic wrangles. Bureacracy, as such is supposed to administer and not make policies. Indias foreign policy and Security, internal or external, is stuck up with bureacratic and sytematic superstructural setup of IFS, IAS and IPS. These people are high paid workers and can never be policy makers. Same is true of the Generals. The sytemic superstructure and bureacracies develop their own interests and blinkered views and tend to perpetuate themselves being negetively compatetive and distructive to the system they are part of.

Therefore, in industry they employ consultancies and outsiders to point out at the sytem blocks. In Western world, they have dedicated institutions (outsiders) who study the problems and suggest remedies. How can an IAS or a Babu heading a DPSU, MoD or other responsibility expected to be ever objective and imaprtial. His only job is to make all other components of MoD and external forces (IFS and IPS) fight each others and achive IAS superiority inertai. He thinks that is his biggest loyality and act accordingly.

It is amazing, how the question of operational control over a border force like ITBP can be scuttled by the lobbists. I am pretty sure the Netas do not even fully realise what they are deciding on. For the Neta his next election is the most important for which an IPS and IAS would be rather important. People in the Forces know it fully well.
My fear is that for Nehru that is going to a cause for disaster for our very existance as a polity and nation.

They are " Coup Mongers" and as rightly said by you still rely on devide and rule theory.

So Are we still a Colony ?? And which bureaucracy has the Colonist mindset ?? Has not DRDO joined the bureacracy rather than being out of it? What purpose of so much autonomy granted to them in vital areas? They squandered in the bureacratic race !!

Do analyse their budgets vis a vis what they have contributed some time. It has become a parking place for some category of people whith all perks and pay without responsibilities.

Well Admiral Arun is undoubtedly very high but there have been others too who have not been very bad either. Which Americal General has been a pathbreaker ??

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon Above: The late Gen K Sundarji, whom I count as one of my mentors, was a brilliant writer, as is Gen (Ret'd) Paddy Padmanabhan, who was actually the person who initiated several conceptual studies on the Indian Army's transformation post OP Parakram. Lt Gen (ret'd) Mathew Thomas is another one. From the US side there's Ret'd Brig Gen Theodore 'Ted' Mataxes, Admiral Hyman Rickover--the father of the US Navy's all-nuclear submarine fleet, Admiral Arthur Cerebrowski, who conceptualised and articulated the network-centric warfare concept. Ted Mataxes is a graduate of the Indian DSSC in Wellington, and in the mid-1970s he along with Lr Gen Mathew Thomas and Maj Gen Israel Tal--all three of them--jointly drafted Singapore's defence doctrine--the porcupine concept. Maj Gen (Ret'd) Haim Herzog, a noted military historian and a former President of Israel, is another good writer on military affairs.

Heberian said...

Hello Prasun-

Would you please share any URLs where one can find Ted Mataxis and Thomas Mathews credited with Singapore's change to the "Porcupine" thing? The reason I ask is because I have a deep interest in Singapore's evolution, and strategy going forward. I was unaware that we had a connection in their change of strategy in the form of Thomas Mathew.

Thanks in advance.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Heberian: Regretably, there are no URLs or official written material available on this subject. I came to know about them only during chance encounters with these former officers as well as with the likes of S R Nathan--the present-day President of Singapore who back then was the Chairman of Straits Times Press Holdings-- in Singapore between 1987 and 1993.

Heberian said...

Hello Prasun-

Thank you for the reply. I understand. Ted Mataxis and Israel Tal I understand, I was just surprised because of Thomas Mathews name; given the patronizing political correctness many in Singapore (and Malaysia) display around us "achas" and "apu nenehs".

But come to think of it, it kind of makes perverse sense.

If you have time, please post something about your observations about the Super MKI and the PAK FA. And specially the logic behind the Mirage 2000 upgrade (costs).

Many thanks..

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Heberian: Have posted your observations and my answer on to the latest thread as it will appeal to a wider audience there. Many thanks.