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Saturday, September 17, 2011

‘Prahaar’ NLOS-BSM Explained

The maiden test-firing of the Prahaar (to strike) quick-reaction, vertically launched surface-to-surface non-line-of-sight battlefield support missile (NLOS-BSM)—developed by the Defence Research & Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) on July 21, 2011--formally kicked off Phase 2 of the Indian Army’s on-going transformational efforts aimed at acquiring precision-guided munitions (PGM) that would provide responsive, long-range lateral supporting fire-assaults as well as shape the theatre-based battlespace for ensuring the conditions for decisive victories. The Prahaar, which has been under development since 2008, has a length of 7.3 metres (23.95 feet) and diameter of 420mm (1.38 feet), weighs 1,280kg, is armed with a 200kg warhead, has a circular error probable (CEP) of less than 10 metres, and is powered by a single-stage solid-propellant rocket that takes the missile to a height of 35km (114,829 feet) before reaching its target in a depressed ballistic trajectory out to a range of 150km in about 250 seconds. Its airframe is derived from the Mach 4 AAD-1 endo-atmospheric ballistic missile interceptor, which has been under development by the ASL since late 1998. Carried inside a hermetically sealed cannister with a 10-year shelf-life, the Prahaar will come packed in a six-unit pod configuration on board a high-mobility 8 x 8 BEML-TATRA wheeled vehicle housing both a command-and-control shelter as well as a transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) mechanism designed by Larsen & Toubro. The solid-fuelled Prahaar is, in essence, a product that overcomes all the deficiencies displayed by the DRDO-developed Prithvi family of battlefield support missiles (the SS-150, SS-250, SS-350 and Dhanush), which makes uses of liquid fuel and is cumbersome both in terms of transportation and launch readiness procedures.
The Indian Army’s search for a precision-guided NLOS-BSM dates back to late 2002, when it began examining options like the 280km-range 9K720 Iskander-E from Russia’s KB Mashynostroyeniya, and the 300km-range LORA from Israel Aerospace Industries’ MLM Division. The decision to import such weapons was, however, abandoned two years later in favour of an indigenous solution by leveraging those core technological competencies that had already been achieved by both the ASL and the DRDO’s Research Centre Imarat (RCI) while in the process of developing the Agni family of nuclear-capable intermediate-/medium-range ballistic missiles and the BrahMos supersonic multi-role/multi-platform cruise missile. Thus, just like in the case of LORA, it was decided that the Prahaar would follow a relatively simple three-element design, comprising a warhead in the fore section, propulsion unit, including the solid-fuel rocket motor with a nozzle. The nozzle would be encircled by the navigation, flight control and guidance unit, which includes the integrated avionic guidance and flight control section, cruciform tail control surfaces, actuators, related antennas and connectors. The ring-laser gyro-based inertial navigation system (RLG-INS), along with its miniaturised GLONASS-K GPS receiver incorporating a 12-channel selective availability anti-spoofing module (SAASM) GPS receiver and using digital RS-422/485 databus interfaces, plus the inertial measurement unit (IMU) utilising an RS-485 digital databus interface, and on-board digital computer, were all designed and built by RCI. For the road-mobile TEL, RCI developed a lightweight land navigation system called FINGS (for providing position and north-pointing information) that makes use of three fibre-optic gyroscopes (weighing less than 1kg), three micro-machined silicon accelerometers and a microprocessor. The system senses acceleration and rotation about three orthogonal axes and outputs temperature compensated incremental angles and incremental velocities. For ensuring the Prahaar’s in-flight manoeuvrability a cooperative dual-control system using divert thrusters was developed for actuating forward and aft control devices simultaneously to significantly improve the missile’s dynamic capability. Thus, to effect the desired manoeuvre, the missile’s aft fins will initially be deflected to generate a force opposite that of the force being used conventionally (thereby pushing the missile’s tail in the direction of the commanded manoeuvre), while simultaneously actuating the forward thrusters to also push the missile’s nose in the direction of the commanded manoeuvre, but at a faster rate than the tail section. This causes the missile body to simultaneously rotate and translate in the direction of the commanded manoeuvre. Once a sufficient amount of aerodynamic force develops due to body rotation, the aft fins are deflected to generate a force that opposes the commanded manoeuvre to maintain a moment on the missile body and complete the commanded manoeuvre. An important benefit of this dual-control strategy is that the missile begins to translate in the direction of the commanded manoeuvre immediately. It is believed that the Prahaar’s warhead section options will include unitary high-explosive blast fragmentation payloads, and sensor-fuzed anti-personnel/anti-materiel (APAM) munitions. While design and fabrication expertise for the former is available with the DRDO, for the latter foreign R & D expertise has been sought from Israel Military Industries (IMI).

Deployment Plans
Under Phase 1 of the Army’s efforts to acquire the requisite fire-assault capabilities for decisively influencing both the contact and deep battles, the BrahMos Block 2 supersonic PGM (with its range and cruise altitude capped at 290km and 13km, respectively, in order for Russia to adhere to the missile technology control regime guidelines) is presently being acquired to equip three missile artillery regiments that form part of the ORBATs of the Indian Army’s three dedicated Artillery Divisions—40, 41 and 42. On December 22, 2004 the first production version of the land-based, quick-reaction BrahMos Block 2 was successfully test-fired from the Pokhran Firing Range. Each BrahMos Block 2 Regiment comprises three Batteries each with four mobile autonomous launchers or MAL (each with three vertically-launched missiles), three mobile command posts (MCP), one fixed command centre, nine missile replenishment vehicles, and three maintenance support vehicles. Each Regiment can fire 36 BrahMos Block 2 missiles against different targets (like interior and exterior lines of communication and transportation nodes) within seconds over a frontage of 600km.

The Army has mandated the bulk procurement of both the BrahMos Block 2 (and the projected Block 3) and Prahaar PGMs for four principal reasons: First, there’s the need to replace the existing stocks of liquid-fuelled Prithvi-1 SS-150 BSMs that have far outlived their utility. Second, during a future round of all-out hostilities (which are likely to be of limited duration, not lasting more than two weeks), the Army wants to reduce as much as possible its traditional reliance on the Indian Air Force (IAF) for close air support and tactical battlespace interdiction during the first 72 hours and wants to acquire its own integral ground-launched firepower assets that are available on demand under all weather conditions. This in turn will free the IAF to realise its larger objective of shaping the multi-theatre battlespace by decapitating the enemy’s tactical airpower through relentless offensive air superiority and counter-base air campaigns. Third, the Army wants to compensate for its debilitating present-day lack of new-generation tube artillery assets (like 155mm/52-cal howitzers of the towed, tracked and motorised varieties) by acquiring precision-guided BSMs that are easily transportable by road and railways, have minimal visual and electromagnetic signatures and a small deployment footprint, and are therefore easily moved and hidden. Fourth, post-OP Parakram (the 10-month eyeball-to-eyeball standoff with Pakistan starting December 2001), Army HQ, while in the process of conceptualising its future warfighting doctrines, plus the strategies and tactics required for waging ‘hyperwar’ or multi-dimensional parallel warfare, had projected a requirement for quick-reaction NLOS-PGMs that will be employed for both the tactical and operational levels of war, meaning such weapons will no longer will be solely a Corps-level deep (operational) fire-assault asset, but they will also be employed by combined arms brigade-sized battle groups at the close combat (tactical) level. The need therefore was for PGMs with increased range and accuracy for providing destructive, protective/suppressive and special-purpose fire-assaults, thereby maximising lethality and minimising collateral damage all along the close, deep and rear operational spectrums of the non-linear and non-contiguous AirLand battlespace. In other words, what the Army wanted was adoption of a warfighting posture in which tactical- and operational-level fire-assaults and manoeuvre warfare would be complementary elements, thereby enabling the ground forces commander to rapidly suppress and destroy hostile forces and restrict the enemy’s ability to counter friendly actions by mobilising and marshalling its operational reserves, thereby, setting the stage for successful manoeuvre warfare operations. Friendly formations could thus use manoeuvre to dislocate or isolate enemy units, while rocket artillery-based fire-assaults fires could achieve maximum effectiveness and efficiency. While one without the other would lessen the chances of success, combined, they would make destroying larger enemy forces feasible and enhance the protection of friendly forces. In addition, asymmetric threats in built-up areas would dictate the use of immediately responsive and continuously available fire-assaults in all types of terrain and weather against time-sensitive targets without fear of collateral damage.

At this stage it must be clarified, though,  that the Indian Army has yet to articulate the optimum pro-active warfighting strategy (mistakenly referred to as the non-existent Cold Start Doctrine by both Indian and foreign think-tanks) that is designed to both reduce the mobilisation time of its offensive formations and their break-out into enemy territory (within a 72-hour period) in a series of shallow thrusts going no deeper than 30km into enemy territory (therefore those who contend that very early in the war the Indian Army will make deep armoured thrusts inside Pakistan are either being ignorant at best, or mischievous at worst). Given the fact that the next round of all-out war between the two countries will be short, swift and intense, the Army believes that instead of making multiple Corps-level thrusts deep into enemy territory, the objective should be to force the Pakistan Army to commit its operational reserves into battle at the very early stages of the war by making a series of shallow thrusts into enemy territory with Brigade-sized combined arms battle groups, following which the Indian Army would employ superior operational art backed up by network-centric knowledge-based war-waging technologies and tactics to envelop and overwhelm the hostile forces by waging effects-based ‘parallel’ or ‘hyper’ war, thereby destroying the enemy’s war-waging assets in detail.
Also to be noted is that the deployment of NLOS-BSMs like the Prahaar, will constitute only one element of the Army’s transformational knowledge-based warfighting strategy. Needless to say, the deployment of Prahaar will make no sense unless and until the Army succeeds in acquiring the required level of battlespace transparency through the induction of the requisite type of situational awareness/common operating picture acquisition tools that will optimally compress the observe, orient, decide, act (OODA) loop. Such tools, like the Tac-C3I, are still years away from deployment, as are its components like the battlespace surveillance system, the battlespace management system, the futuristic combat net radio network, and the F-INSAS system.
Another critical factor likely to affect the Prahaar’s battlespace performance (especially its accuracy) will be the status of the projected Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS)--an autonomous regional GPS-based satellite navigation system being developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) since May 2006 with a project funding of Rs16 billion. Though the project was originally due for completion by 2012, the scheduled deployment milestones to be attained have slipped by a few more years. Though both the Prahaar and BrahMos presently have access to high-accuracy MILSPEC PY-standard codes relayed by Russia’s GLONASS-K GPS satellite constellation, the plan for the long-run is to discard this option in favour of the IRNSS, which will eventually comprise a constellation of seven GPS navigation satellites placed in geostationary orbit that will provide an absolute position accuracy of better than 10 metres throughout India and within a region extending approximately 2,000km around India.

Prithvi BSM Now A Dead Dog
Even though the 4.4-tonne, liquid-fuelled SS-150 Prithvi-1 ground-launched BSM was under development since 1983 under the DRDO’s Integrated Guided Missiles Development Programme, the Indian Army was never interested in procuring any such weapon system and therefore it neither submitted its General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQR) for any BSM, nor was it asked to submit one by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). However, after coming under enormous pressure from then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988, Army HQ reluctantly agreed to induct into service a version of the SS-150 armed with a 1-tonne high-explosive (HE) unitary warhead and offering a circular error probability (CEP--a measure of accuracy and consistency) of 100 metres (and not 25 metres as claimed by the DRDO) at maximum range.  Despite the DRDO’s protestations, the Army chose not to induct any SS-150s armed with blast pre-fragmented warheads, cluster munitions-carrying payloads, incendiary warheads and fuel-air explosive warheads, since the poor CEP of the SS-150 (due to its dry-tuned gyro-based strap-down inertial navigation system) ensured that any damage caused to the enemy would be only of a collateral nature. Thus, deliveries of the SS-150s got underway from 1993 and lasted till early 2009, with about 180 being built by the MoD-owned, Hyderabad-based Bharat Dynamics Ltd. These missiles presently equip the 333 (raised in June 1993 in Panchmarhi and commissioned in October 1995 under the Ambala-based 40 Artillery Division of the Mathura-based I Corps), 444 (raised in October 2001 under the Pune-based 41 Artillery Division of the Jodhpur-based XII Corps) and 555 Missile Groups (operational by January 2005 under the 42 Artillery Division of the Ambala-based II Corps), with each Group being equipped with 60 liquid-fuelled SS-150s. Each Prithvi Missile Group was made up of two Sub-Groups that in turn are made up of two Troops. Each Troop has six SS-150 mobile autonomous launchers (MAL). Thus, each Group has 24 MALs and almost 72 support vehicles (including the four command-and-control vehicles, plus fuel carriers, missile transporters, oxidizer carriers, and warhead carriers). However, in times of hostilities, the missiles will be pre-fuelled (the shelf-life of the liquid propellant is 10 years) before being deployed to their launch sites where only three vehicles—the MAL, power supply vehicle and one Mobile Command Post (MCP)—would be employed. The SS-150 is fuelled by a liquid propellant (a 50:50 combination of isomeric xylidine and trimethlyamine), with the oxidizer being inhibited red fuming nitric acid (IRFNA). The propellant has a 260 specific impulse and was specified by the Army, which required a range fluctuation between 40km and 150km and this could only have been achieved by a variable total impulse best generated by liquid propellants. Following its launch, the SS-150’s semi-ballistic trajectory takes it to an altitude of 30km following which it adopts either a steep ballistic trajectory at nearly 80 degrees, or a lift-augmented descent trajectory. As far as the latter option goes, there are six flight-path variations available, which are pre-programmed prior to launch.
The Indian Army has always found the SS-150 deficient in five critical areas. Firstly, a Prithvi pre-filled with its highly skin-corrosive liquid propellant has shelf-life limitations, while fuelling the missile under battlefield conditions requires large preparatory time. Secondly, as explained earlier, the missile’s field deployment footprint is characterised by a large number of support vehicles, which can easily be detected by the enemy’s airborne/space-based overhead reconnaissance assets. Thirdly, since the missile’s terminal velocity is low, its unitary HE warhead will not be able to penetrate the hardened fortifications on the international border between India and Pakistan. Fourthly, given its poor terminal accuracy, it never did qualify as a reliable BSM when equipped with any kind of conventional warhead. And lastly, the SS-150 takes time to accelerate as it rises upon firing, making it an easily observable target both by visual means and radar, which in turn will lead to swift counter-bombardment by the enemy. Even though the DRDO now claims that the follow-on 350km-range Prithvi-2 SS-250 variant (under development since 1996 and being proposed to replace those SS-150s whose shelf-lives have either already expired or will expire by 2014) has a CEP of less than 10 metres (this being achieved by doing away with the strap-down inertial navigation system and using a new ring-laser gyro-based INS coupled to a GLONASS-K GPS receiver developed by the DRDO’s Vignyanakancha-based Research Centre Imarat), the Prithvi-2 still suffers from the very same four remaining shortcomings of the SS-150, and therefore, contrary to what the DRDO has been claiming, the Prithvi-2 will never enter service with either the Indian Army or the Strategic Forces Command, a fact already confirmed by the MoD, which has decreed that the existing SS-150s under the Strategic Forces Command will be replaced in future by the 2,500km-range Agni-2A Prime. Thus, the Prithvi in all its manifestations is a dead dog that continues to be flogged by the DRDO for meaningless glory. The Prithvi-2 was first test-fired on January 27, 1996 and this was followed by further test-firings conducted on March 31, 2001, on October 12, 2009 (when two Prithvi-2s were fired), on March 27 and June 18, 2010, on September 24, 2010, on December 22, 2010 (when two missiles were fired), and finally on June 9, 2011. It has so far demonstrated a flight duration of 483 seconds and a peak altitude of 43.5km, but unlike the BrahMos, has never been test-fired over a land-based firing range.—Prasun K. Sengupta


saurav jha said...

With the artillery induction being delayed constantly, Prahar will most probably inducted in big number.


An article on the artillery needs of India and options for each type will be most welcome..

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Saurav Jha: NLOS-BSM can never be a substitute for field artillery howitzers. And unlike the case for towed 155mm/52-cal howitzers that is associated with the Bofors scandal, the motorised howitzer reqmt is starting from a clean slate without any kind of legacy hangovers and that's why I feel its acquisition process will proceed swiftly. The only obstacles this time may come from DPSUs like BEML, which is the in-country agent for the Slovakian truck and armaments manufacturers, and which may push for the infanous TATRA 815 left-hand drive trucks to be adopted as carrier vehicles for the howitzer (which won't be acceptable to the Army as these trucks won't fit inside a C-130J-30). In addition, the Zuzana 155mm howitzer being proposed by BEML features a 45-cal barrel and not a 52-cal barrel. For the tracked SPH reqmt, my personal preference would still be the NLOS-C type of system (using a version of the LW-155 but with a 52-cal barrel) that has already been developed and tested by BAE System and which could be optimised inside India specifically for the Indian Army's requirements by the risk-sharing military-industrial JV between Mahindra Defence & BAE Systems. The DRDO too can get involved by offering to integrate the NLOS-C's turret with the hull of a re-engined T-72M-1982 MBT, and developing in-house an ammo resupply vehicle based on the T-72M-1982's hull. This could be a win-win scenario for everyone involved, the DRDO, HVF, CVRDE, and the private sector represented by Mahindra Defence. BEL as usual could supply the software-defined radios and BMS systems (interfaced with the Shakti ACCCS network). It is all doable within a three-year timeframe. Hope Shri A K Antony heeds this unsolicited advice.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Saurav Jha: In the unsolicited suggestion I've made above, it needs to be added that such turret gousing a lightweight 155mm/52-cal cannon can also be suitably modified by the all R & D/industrial stakeholders mentioned above for fulfilling naval reqmts. A naval turret housing this cannon can also be developed in parallel to go on board the principal surface combatants (like DDGs and FFGs) that are likely to be inducted by the Indian Navy in future.
Another option available is to attach an industrial offsets clause for the winner of the motorised 155mm/52-cal howitzer competition under which the winning OEM will be obligated to develop a navalised turret-mounted variant of the 155mm/52-cal cannon in cooperation with a consortium of Indian military-industrial entities hailing from both the public and private sectors. It is high time the artillery reqmts of the Army and Navy were synchronised in order to leverage the best direct/indirect industrial offset offers/options.

Pawan said...

Dear Prasun
Do not think that is too much details which can be used by enemy. I am new to thus area of defense blogs. Please pardon if am wrong

At same time i must appreciate that your interaction with readers very informative & satisfying. Also on contrary to my fear to too much details i should appreciate the depth with which you cover your articles


Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Pawan: Many thanks for your concerns, but do rest assured that such details are available to the discerning members of the public who take the trouble to visit the various aerospace & defence expos held both within India and abroad. All details and photos posted in this blog are purely of a military-technical nature, which have already been published in magazines like FORCE and TEMPUR.

F said...


Do you recall an incident in 1971 when after the fall of East Pakistan, a couple of PN ships managed to escape from Chittagong and seeked refuge in Penang? It seems they were denied entry by the Malaysian government.

Can ERA panels on Russian MBTs be easily replaced in the field by the crews or do they need specialised tools?

In the near future, as Indonesia's economy improves, it will attempt to be more assertive and regain its place as ASEAN's 'big boy' and as you pointed out might get cruise missiles. In your opinion will this lead to a greater defence
partnership between Singapore and Malaysia or perhaps if things become very threatening, a formal strategic alliance, which will be against ASEAN policy?

Do you not think it was a bit silly on the part of the TNI-AL to replace the Harpoons on the 30 year pld Ahmad Yani class frigates with just 4 Yakhonts? Sure the Yakhonts are the fastest ASMs in the region, and one with the biffest warhead, but really exploit its long range would need an OTHT capability which the TNI-AL lacks. There is also thequestion of whether the long range of the Yakhont will be able to be utilised in the congested and busy Straits of Melaka and Singapore. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Do you know for certain what air to air and air to ground ordnance has been bought for the MKMs? So far only 57mm pods and free fall bombs have been tested and showned publicly. Training rounds of the KH-31 anti-radar missile and KAB-500 laser guided bomb was shown at an open day event at Subang some years ago.

Are the RMAF's stocks of AMRAAM actually kept at Butterworth or on U.S. territory?

Is the BMS on the PT-91M the same that thales has been contracted for the 257 AV8s?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To FARIS: Yes, that incident of December 1971 is quite well-known. ERA panels can be easily replaced as the tool kits are all contained within the MBT. As for Indonesia, for as long as the Presidents all hail from the TNI there should be no problems, just irritants. However, should a civilian ever become President, then he/she MAY resort to displays of populist xenophobic nationalism (like China does) as opposed to genuine proud patriotism, thereby flaming negative/hostile sentiments that are aimed at Malaysia or Singapore. That was precisely the reason why during Sukarno’s time the FPDA and ANZMIS defence cooperation frameworks were formalised. Malaysia has therefore always looked to Singapore as being its first line of defence against any kind of ouvert or covert aggression emanating from down south. Regarding the Yakhonts, yes, it was a grave procurement error and with the first of four already being fired (and it missed its target as no over-the-horizon targetting cues were provided), the remaining three will hardly have any deterrent value. The TNI-AL in future is likely to go for the CPMIEC-built C-705 missile in both air-launched and ship-launched versions. As for the RMAF Su-30MKMs, a total of 12 supplemental contracts have been inked that include those for air combat missiles (R-27RE, R-73E and R-77) and Kh-31P, KAB-500 and Kh-59ME missiles. All AMRAAMSD ordered for the RMAF are on Malaysian soil, and not in the US. The THALES-built BMS terminals and comms radios on the PT-91Ms will be the same as those just ordered for the 257 PARS 8 x 8 APCs. They have to be, since THALES, through SAPURA, is also due to supply the new network-centric C4ISR network for the Malaysian Army (as replacements for the existing GEC-Marconi system acquired in the mid-1990s).

Anonymous said...

why don't India have anything to do with the Russian self propelled howitzer? What's wrong with even using Russian / Israeli experts in consultant roles seeing India lacks the technological know how?

Pawan said...

what u do not sleep at night? you were answering all night. Defense analysis must be your real passion.

Anonymous said...

You said, " tools, like the Tac-C3I, are still years away from deployment, as are its components like the battlespace surveillance system, the battlespace management system, the futuristic combat net radio network, and the F-INSAS system."

Whats the progress of each of these systems especially battlespace surveillance system for IA ?

Whats new this time in artillery induction ? The government is still UPA and defence minister is also the same (no risk taking decision maker i.e. almost no decision at all). I doubt UPA government is ever gonna clear any artillery project.

how many Prahar are likely to be inducted ?

What is the preparation for NBC warfare ? I mean like IA recently placed order for 50k-60k NBC suites. DRDO has developed NBC recce vehicle etc. Any how many of these systems will be procured ?

Why wouldn't OFB or DRDO field Bhim ? Even if its cancelled, it would be wise to reopen the project and improve the limitations as it would be fast.

How many track, wheeled, towed and ultra light howitzers will be purchased by IA ?

How many Brahmos block 3 will be purchased by IA ?

Is IA going to purchase light MBTs ?

According to recent reports the whole program for a separate strike force in the NE is cancelled alongwith the separate all whether route to connect NE (cancelled by environment ministry). What is the IA's second plan since both these plans are cancelled ?

Are their any indication that armored corps for NE might get clear in the next 5 year plan ?

IA hasn't made any big purchase in the last 5 years except t90, akash sam, brahmos. Where's is the money going ? Are they returning the fund back to FM ?

Any high profile JV that has already been made and that noone is aware of other than Brahmos, Barak 2, MRTA and upcoming aesa and kaveri ?
Thanx for this great article.

Anonymous said...

but pks, then why are they keeping testing the prithvi over n over again even till so recently (and planned to test it in late sep) if its a dead dog?

Anonymous said...

PKS & Faris,

however in IN's website, here's what the say about the Penang incident in 71:

"PNS Rajshahi the sole survivor of the Navy in East Pakistan, escaped capture and found her way to Penang in Malaysia. The Malaysian Government and Navy treated her ship's company in a most hospitable manner and rendered assistance to enable the patrol craft to remain seaworthy. A number of naval personnel had crossed the border into Burma at the surrender of East Pakistan".

Malaysia helped them not drove them off. I mean just by reading Faris' statement I knew it couldn't be true.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To PAWAN: Well, it's not just a job, but an adventure, as the saying goes.

To Anon@12.17PM: The DRDO isn't testing any Prithvi-2s, it is just firing them to get rid of the existing DRDO-held stocks which were already ordered prior to February 2009. Call it 'patakas' or 'firewrorks', take your pick. But they aren't a part of any holdings of the SFC or Indian Army. That's why the TELs of such missiles don't have any formation signs painted on them (this bit of info should come in handy for those who try to dream up the Indian Army's or SFC's ORBATs by looking out for the elusive formation signs, instead of interacting with key armed forces decision-makers who in any case might be well beyond their reach).

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@6.35AM: The T-6 turret from DENEL Land Systems can easily be integrated with the hull of a T-72 and this hull can also be modified to house a 1,000hp engine (the same as that on the T-90S). Such a solution is indeed possible and needs to be examined seriously.

Anonymous said...

To Mr.12.22, the URL is

sbm said...

Prasun, interesting article and perspective.

The question I have is this - Prithvis aside - what groups operate the Agni-1 and Agni-2 and what is their ToE ?

On another point, recalling Pravin Swami's informative Hindu article on coastal security, I think that while almost every point he has made regarding sensors and training is completely valid, I am less than convinced about the boats. Conditions are less than perfect but some of the problems the laid at the feet of the vessels are down to inadequate training and physical conditioning of the crews.

The 12 and 5 ton vessels are no worse and operate in no worse an environment than the vessels the Coast Guard of Trinidad and Tobago (my home country) operates.

There are equipment deficiencies but some can be overcome with better training.

Anonymous said...

sir is there any 600 km range supersonic cruise missile under development....????

if yes then why isn;t much info available on this on net ??

is any indian bms under development ??

Anonymous said...

Prasun sir,any news about the Hybrid armor developed by HEMRL for tanks??Any info about its composition??And lastly,will it go to Arjun MkII??

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To SBM: Dr Maharaj ji ki jai ho! Regarding your first question, the inaugural September 2003 issue of FORCE magazine had revealed that the Indian Army's 334 Missile Group is equipped with the Agni-1 and the 335 Missile Group has the Agni-2. The Agni-3 has never been inducted into service, and only the Agni-5 will be. Regarding the second question (which you had posed ‘somewhere else’) on the BRDM-2/OT-64 recce variants, they have been replaced by the BMP-2 ICV modified to carry the BFSR & ELBIT Systems-designed integrated thermal observation system coupled to a laser rangefinder—all these being supplied by BEL. There is also another ground-based mobile battlefield surveillance system in the form of a TATRA 815 mounting a raisable mast out to a height of 70 feet and the mast houses the BEL-assembled Stentor radar + an ELBIT Systems-built LORROS.
Now, coming back to the issue of existing Prithvi SS-150s and their future replacements, the issue is simple: the existing missile groups—333,444 and 555—will morph into composite groups each containing Regiments of the BrahMos Blocks-2/3 and Prahaar NLOS-BSM. The 30-odd SS-150s (including 15 for test-firings per annum for maintaining launch proficiency) which were previously designated as ‘strategic’ systems have already been replaced by a similar number of Agni-1s and will be joined in future by the Agni-2A Prime (which, incidentally, will be cannisterised), some 20 of which are due to be series-produced, plus another 10 earmarked for test-firings per annum for maintaining launch proficiency. Regarding the IAF’s SS-250s—only about 10 of which were acquired in 2006-2007, these will be replaced by far larger numbers (a production figure of 150 has been doing the rounds) of the cannisterised Shaurya, whose final user-trials will soon kick off. This follows a comprehensive re-appraisal of India’s existing and projected threat perceptions and the type and quantity of arsenals required for ensuring strategic deterrence, this appraisal being conducted over a 90-day period starting July 2007 by former CNS Admiral (Ret’d) Arun Prakash along with a tri-services team of senior officers hailing from HQ Integrated Defence Staff. The recommendations and conclusions of the appraisal were accepted in toto by the Shivshankar Menon soon after he became the NSA. There was also a key recommendation regarding the cannisterised Agni-5—this being that this missile be maintained and operated by the IAF (and not the Army). It remains to be seen what will eventually happen.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To SBM: Coming now to your last observation on coastal security, the fundamental problems are these: firstly, policing is a state subject, due to which there is no unitary training syllabus available as yet for seamanship/physical conditioning, nor is there any dedicated academy anywhere for training the Marine Police personnel hailing from different states. While such a training institution run and controlled by the Indian Coast Guard is required ASAP, no such steps have been taken about it by the Union MHA. Consequently, training is presently ad hoc, uncoordinated and dysfunctional. The second—and most critical-- problem is that of financial allocations, which although have been forthcoming from the Union MHA, the state-level MHAs have traditionally been guilty of diverting such funds for other purposes since the mid-1990s. Consequently, even if new hardware is initially procured, the recurring expenditure reqd as establishment costs for maintaining and operating such hardware on a sustained basis has never surfaced—thanks to fiscal indiscipline which in turn is caused by the indebtednesses of the concerned states. I foresee a similar fate in store for the coastal surveillance now coming up, especially if the Coast Guard continues to be underfunded by the Union MHA, and the Ministry of Shipping fails to allocate adequate funds for setting up a central training centre (and devising universally-acceptable standards of training syllabus/practices) where personnel manning the lighthouses ought to be trained for operating the maintaining the coastal surveillance radars and optronic surveillance systems.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@9.59PM: Yes, there is. It will be air-deliverted. Indian BMS has been under development for the past five years.

To Anon@11.56PM: I don't have any exclusive insider's insight into such R & D efforts. The Arjun Mk2 and projected Mk3 variants will sport such types of armour, and even the Arjun Mk1 can sport it in the form of bolt-on applique armour plates.

sbm said...

Thank you for that insight.

So what you're saying - if I read you correctly is that 30 Agni-1 currently serve with SFC and one would assume a similar number of Agni-2 as it has been in production longer ?

I remember that Force issue - I was on good terms with the editor then.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To SBM: That's right. The plans also call for the existing Agni-2s to be replaced by the cannisterised Agni-2A Prime in future.

sbm said...

60 Agnis ? That tallies with warhead totals easily enough - plus of course the gravity bombs.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To SBM: Yup, 60 is the projected figure. The gravity bombs will be replaced by the supersonic air-delivered munition in future. Also, do watch out for interesting forthcoming developments concerning the Shaurya. And lastly, just sent you an e-mail with attachments. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,
Will any good come of the agreement b/w DRDO and DSTL?Anything here that excites u?

Why does the GOI try to play safe against China when the Chinese made their intentions clear by assuming the role of strongman in Asia as they had a statement coming out of the US which India protested against in 2009?
What is most likely the Indian politician's mindset when he tries to build 'friendly reln' with China when we could partner the US and gain tech innovations and economic benefit in a strategic partnership?
Are we still in a NAM mindset or is it political pressure(muslim votes?)or is there something we do not know?

You earlier in another post mentioned China getting entrenched in the Indian comm secctor and our buisnesses are going to be dependent on them.Im sure the NSA would know of this(or do they not?)SO why are steps not being taken to stop this?Why are we growing dependent on the Chinese?Is it to create a compulsion for the Chinese to treat India 'properly' else they lose a very big market here for their goods?

If we do not partner the US who will against a rising Chinese in Asia(Perhaps Indonesia)?

sbm said...

When you say 60 is projected - what's currently available ?

I mean A-1 5 per year since 2005 =30

A-2 5 per year since 2003 = 40 ?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To SBM: Presently there are 30 Agni-1s and 30 Agni-2s, including those meant for test-firings. To this will be added 30 cannisterised Agni-2A Prime as one-for-one replacements for the existing Agni-2s between 2014 and 2020. Thus, by 2020 there will be about 10-/12 Agni-1s and 25 Agni-2A Primes + the initial Agni-5s (out of a total planned production run of 30). However, depending on the success of the cannisterised Shaurya, the Agni-1s may be decommissioned well before 2020 after being replaced on a one-for-one basis with the Shaurya. I forgot to mention this last point earlier. My apologies.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@1.55AM: There could be some interesting synergies between the DSTL and DRDO, one of them being the development of futuristic 155mm/52-cal howitzers for both land and naval forces (which I have already explained above in earlier comments in this thread). Another is in the area of tactical communications, plus satellite-based strategic communications networks, micro-satellites with overhead reconnaissance payloads, underwater communications and unmanned underwater autonomous vehicles, sonars, etc. The list can be a long one, but in the end the R & D results have to be translated into tangible gains via series-production of well-engineered products. That is why I have suggested that the DSTL-DRDO R & D alliance be matched at the industrial level by the likes of Mahindra Defence & BAE Systems with the aim of developing a 155mm/52-cal howitzer which can be adapted as both a tracked self-propelled field howitzer as well as a naval artillery system.
Successive GoIs have played sage with the PRC simply because India still does not have the capacity reqd for ensuring conventional deterrence at both the strategic and operational levels. Infrastructural deficiencies (now being perpetuated due to environmental concerns) and the slow pace of force modernisation are to blame for this state of affairs. But one must take note of the fact—in the interests of fairness—that despite India’s repetitive pledges of adhering to the ‘One China’ policy, China strongly suspects India’s good intentions because India continues to host the Tibet Govt-in-Exile. This is what rankles China, and not the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on India soil. India began partnering with the US, EU, Russia and Scandinavian countries since the early 1980s to gain high-tech in almost every sphere of industrial activity (civil and military), but this has not been matched by the much-reqd reforms within both India’s industrial sector and the apex levels of national security decision-making. Unless such reforms take place (like creation of the post of CDS), no amount of weapons induction will help ensure deterrence against the PRC. In that sense, India’s principal enemies are within. And there’s nothing wrong with buying communications equipment from China. However, just make sure that adequate national capacities are created to ensure that such hardware is not accompanied by any kind of malware. As for a coalition of the willing, whenever the need arises, India can always count on ASEAN, Australia, Japan, Taiwan and the US.

Mr. Ra said...

So we are almost never reaching even to a total figure of 70 of such missiles. Is it justified against a belligerent combination like SinoPak.

BTW, why have you not counted the Agni-3.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To MrRA: It will be more than 70 by 2020, that's a given. Also, don't forget the 50-odd supersonic air-delivered munitions, which will replace the gravity n-bombs. The total number of air-delivered warheads will thus be closer to 120. And whenever the SLBMs are ready for deployment, one can count on a fleet of at least three SSBNs each equipped with eight SLBMs, or a total of 24 SLBMs deployed plus another 10 for routine test-firings. That will bring the grand total to 154 n-delivery vehicles/warheads, if one assumes that Dr V K Saraswat is right when he said in February 2010 that the DRDO Nis not developing any kind of MIRV.
The Agni-3 won't be put to production.

Mr. Ra said...

Thanx and sorry of Agni-3. Perhaps it does not have place and range in the list of priorities.

Anonymous said...

You said about 150 shaurya are likely to be inducted in IAF. Why so less ?
As far as i know its just like a hypersonic cruise missile with a longer range and faster speed than Brahmos so why not utilize them also for the role for which Brahmos is built ?

Is IA also interested in Shaurya ?

I would really appreciate if you share some information on Nuclear, chemical and biological warfare. I remember drdo developed NBC recce vehicles. How many are inducted by IA ? Also any other such projects or what preparations are their if our neighbors or terrorist carries out a NBC strike ?

Austin said...

Prasun , What do you make out of the current age controversy wrt to the Army Chief and MOD.

Different publication/news publishes their own data point to support or disapprove of chief age. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Prasun and fellow bloggers,

I have two unrelated questions. Is there any country neighboring China willing to merge with China. I have heard from some Vietnamese gentleman who strongly advocates (given Vietnam's history)merging with China.

Why didn't India collaborate with Soviet Union in space technology. Although I feel given its allocated budget India's space research and its achievement by ISRO a rare Indian success story, still I feel India could have been in an advantageous position had it collaborated more with Soviet Union in this field. That's a random thought. But its a fact India's rockets (PSLV, GSLV although successful in their own way) pales before payload capacity of Russian and Chinese rockets. On a related note, its rumored ISRO's rocket technology has been used by DRDO for the IRBM and other missile program. Is it true? Can a civilian entity collaborate with military industry/institute. What is the Western world's take on this? Does NASA has any such role in USA's ICBM and other missiles used by the military?

Thank you in advance and must appreciated.


Anonymous said...

To Anon 10:03 NR

Nếu bạn cho phép tôi kết hợp với vợ của bạn sau đó Việt Nam có thể sáp nhập với Trung Quốc.

Anonymous said...

While India is squabbling over its Army General's age and deferring procurement of vital equipment,Australia has developed special protection for their soldiers'privates against shrapnel hits.That tells me how much IA values its personnel compared to other countries... ZIP!

Shree said...

Why the air intake shape of F-18E(Semi circle) differ from that of F-18A(Box)?What are the benefits?
Will LCA Mk2 will do the same?

Shree said...

Why the air intake shape of F-18E(Box) differ from that of F-18A(Semi circle)?What are the benefits?
Will LCA Mk2 will do the same?
My mistake :)

Anonymous said...

so after all the talk about EXTRA there seems to be no talk in this article about EXTRA!!

Mitra said...

Prasun sir,

There are some problems here. After the test of the Prahaar, many points in the earlier article on Prahaar has been removed / edited. I reproduce the original version here. I even have screenshot available of how it has "evolved"

More Details Emerge About ‘Prahaar’ (July 5 2011)

Further details are now emerging about the solid-fuelled ‘Prahaar’ surface-to-surface battlefield support missile, which is destined to replace about 350-odd existing Prithvi SS-150 liquid-fuelled battlefield interdiction missiles that are now nearing the end of their service lives.

The ‘Prahaar’ will come packed in a six-unit pod configuration on board a high-mobility BEML-TATRA wheeled vehicle housing both a SATCOM-equipped command-and-control shelter as well as a transporter-erector-launcher mechanism designed by Larsen & Toubro. The ‘Prahaar’ follows a relatively simple three-element design, comprising a warhead in the fore section, propulsion unit, including the solid-fuel rocket motor with a nozzle. The nozzle is encircled by the navigation, flight control and guidance unit, which includes the integrated avionic guidance and flight control section, cruciform tail control surfaces, actuators, related antennas and connectors.

The ‘Prahaar’ can be launched within few minutes, from unprepared positions. In fact, any target whose location is known within the range of the missile can be attacked within less than 10 minutes from the launch decision. Each ‘Prahaar’ will be housed within a disposable sealed cannister providing a 10-year service-life and very low maintenance costs. 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. Equipped with a fibre-optic gyro-based inertial navigation system combined with a GPS receiver, the Prahaar will use an aft section fitted with stabilising fins and a solid-rocket motor. The warhead section will be built as a modular compartment, designed to carry various types of sub-munitions or a unitary warhead. For example, it will be able to carry up to 400 AT/AP bomblets, scatterable mines, anti-runway munitions and similar loads. The fin-mounted control section will store the guidance and control avionics, driving four flight control surfaces for trajectory shaping.

The ‘Prahaar’ has been 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. (???) By adjusting the ballistic trajectory of the missile to compensate for wind drift and other meteorological effects the Prahaar’s flight control system is claimed to have improved the accuracy of the missile by 4 times the average accuracy of existing unguided MBRL-launched rockets. The Prahaar’s sub-munitions are 30cm in diameter and 3.97 metres (13 feet) in length.

Can you please explain these sir?

F said...

''They have to be, since THALES, through SAPURA, is also due to supply the new network-centric C4ISR network for the Malaysian Army (as replacements for the existing GEC-Marconi system acquired in the mid-1990s).''

Wasn't the Marconi command and control system, acquired as part of the 1988 arms MOU with Britain, replaced by a new one provided by Systems Consultancy Services?

Do you know of any land based SIGINT or ELINT systems being bought, apart from the army operated Grintek one in 1995?

Lastly, do you know the names of the PN ships that tried to seek refuge in Penang in 1971? Also what was the reason they were refused entry - was it due to political pressure from Delhi or simply due to the fact that Malaysia had and still has a closer realtionship with India, rather than Pakistan?

Came across this rather surprising piece of news -

F said...


Just came acroos your posting. According to an article I read many years ago [if I'm not mistaken in the Asia Pacific Defence Review in the mid-1990's] the PN ships were given fuel and light maintainence, just enough to enable them to put to sea, despite a Pakistani request for them to stay in Penang.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Austin: We all know that money is not the main reason why the raising of the Mountain Corps is being questioned by the MoD. The Ministry of Environment & Forests too is making objections thereby compromising national security. In my view, the MoD is applying pressure on the present COAS Gen V K Singh so that he doesn't approach the Supreme Court regarding the validity of his tenure as Army Chief. In case he persists, then A K Antony always has the option of dismissing him from service, exactly like what George Fernandes had done to the Navy Chief Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat in December 1998( since no Raksha Mantri wants a hostile service chief). While everyone knows that the present Army Chief was undoubtedly born in 1951 and no one believes that staying on as Army Chief for another year will in any way radically transform the Army for the better, politics in Delhi predominates everything. That's why almost every armed services chief has historically run his service like his personal fiefdom and tried to dictate the succession order, be it the previous Army Chief, the present Navy Chief or past naval chiefs like Admiral Tahiliani. You really have to feel this first-hand on-site in Delhi in the corridors of power in order to believe it. Only those that are the really smart cookies manage to dodge the minefields and succeed. In that way, India is no different at all from neighbouring Pakistan--both countries still suffer from the feudal mindset.

Shankar said...


I don't understand your comment. Under what logic could the PNS Rajshahi have stayed in Penang? You mean stayed in Penang to join the Malaysian Navy? It was a Pakistani ship and the most any country could do was to resupply the ship, ensure the crew is well, and send it back to its home country.

Minimum service & supplies - yes, it is the case. Minimum to have it sent back to Pakistan.

Did anybody expect Malaysia to fill it to the brim (and maybe send together an escort supply vessel)? Or completely rebuild the ship for PN?

PS: I don't mean to be sarcastic or demeaning by the way. Just a healthy comment.

The point is, supplying and sending back a ship is the very least humanitarian service Malaysia, a non-aligned country, could have rendered to a broken and bleeding nation of Pakistan of 1971

Shankar said...


I know I'm not PKS, but my take to your query on Malaysia's leaning towards India or Pakistan is this:

Malaysia logically would have to have a smooth and healthy relationship with India because of the long & deep cultural ties, india's economic resurgence, and india's considerable leverage on malaysia's economy (especially tourism, railways and the services sector). I mean it makes no sense for a country like Malaysia to dump India for Pakistan, a country which cannot do much to keep UMNO in power (such as creating jobs, increasing trade etc.). In addition, it would be in Malaysia's interest to get cosy with India to counter China's claim to some of Malaysia's Islands. We also have a more assertive Indonesia, which despite having very bitter Chinese experience, seems to bebe getting cosy with Beijing.

Malaysia's support to Pakistan is merely to portray a balanced, non-biased character of the nation. A show that it is a friend of all. And more importantly, to appease its peers in the OIC.

I was speaking to an influential member in UAE external policies belonging to the Al-Nahyan family of Abu Dhabi, and he was teling me it's a huge burden being cosy Pakistan these days. Their leaders rock up once every year with a begging bowl for bail-outs, most of which just end up in their pocket. In return apparently, they offer to keep silent on matters relating to ill-treatment of Pakistani workers in UAE (especially those employed in the camel-jockey industry). The problem, according to him, is abuse to Pakistanis is overshadowed by the amount of crime Pakistanis commit in the UAE. I have lived in the UAE for 4 years, and anybody who's lived there knows what the Prince said is true.

It is a problem i know Putrajaya too is facing after letting in countless Pakistani workers as oil palm plantation workers.

Shankar said...

BTW, Samy Velu's new portfolio is self explanatory on how importantly Najib views India.

joydeep ghosh said...

Prasun da

first thing first please write shorter sentences, sometimes they are so long its hard to read them and also give more paragraphs.

now to the doubts

1. You say Agni 3 will not be inducted then why is DRDO and IA working on more tests of that missile.

2. As per you Dhanush and Prithvi 3 are different. Dhanush is in limited use by Navy, but who uses the Prithvi 3.

3. You say Brahmos 2& 3 (later) regiments are to be raised, how many more we need before we start exports (most possibly to Vietnam, Malaysia)

4. you contention for navalised 155mm/52-cal cannon takes us back to the era of battleships when the most guns are OTO Melara 76 mm, your say

5. Is there a chance to canister the existing missiles

6. you say a 600 km range supersonic air delivered cruise missile under development, and Nirbhay is a drone (then why DRDL/RCI are working on it), I think you mixed up Nirbhay and drone info.

7. How long before Shaurya/Sagarika are inducted

8. Any news on undersea Brahmos

more later


Joydeep Ghosh

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@5.10AM: It must be noted that the planned 150 Shauryas are meant for the IAF and not the Strategic Forces Command and will therefore carry conventional warheads. Normally, such missiles are ordered in successive tranches and it will therefore not be too surprising if 600 Shauryas were to be eventually inducted into service. On the other hand, for the SFC, the Shaurya is the optimum replacement for the existing Agni-1s. The reason the Army isn’t interested in the Shaurya is due to the limitations of its situational awareness capabilities, which are dictated by the nature of the land campaigns to be fought. You can get all infor about the BMP-based NBC recce vehicles from the MoD’s latest annual report.

To Anon@1.03PM: No sane leader hailing from either Vietnam or Cambodia, or Laos or even Myanmar will even entertain such a thought, rest assured. Regarding India-Russia space cooperation, it has on-going for the past three decades and continues to flourish till this day. Regarding ISRO
‘s rocket technologies being used by the DRDO, it’s not just such technologies, but also skilled human resource crossovers that have and continue to take place (like that of Dr A P J Abdul Kalam)—there’s nothing wrong with that. This has been prevalent since the 1950s even in countries like the US and former USSR.

To Shree: Increased airflow reqmts for turbofans dictate the shape of the air intakes. As for the Tejas LCA Mk2 the existing air intake design will be retained, but the size of the air intakes are being enlarged as will those for the internal ducting.

To Anon@3.57PM: The linkage exists in terms of A) conceptualisation of the NLOS-BSM and mobility/performance parameters; and B) the warhead configurations. Anyone using one’s brains rather than a cock’s balls would have figured that out long ago.

To FARIS: SCS was never in the reckoning for replacing the GEC-Marconi-supplied C4ISR network and it was always the THALES/SAPURA combine that was the principal contender. Regarding the ELINT/SIGINT systems being used by the Army, the Vera-E passive surveillance system was acquired in late 2008 for GAPU.

F said...

''The point is, supplying and sending back a ship is the very least humanitarian service Malaysia, a non-aligned country, could have rendered to a broken and bleeding nation of Pakistan of 1971.''

''Minimum service & supplies - yes, it is the case. Minimum to have it sent back to Pakistan.''


And that is exactly Malaysia did according to a report I read many years ago.

''I don't understand your comment. Under what logic could the PNS Rajshahi have stayed in Penang? You mean stayed in Penang to join the Malaysian Navy? It was a Pakistani ship and the most any country could do was to resupply the ship, ensure the crew is well, and send it back to its home country.''

Nothing as dramatic as joining the RMN as you suggested. Perhaps something more mundane as needing a refuge until she could make it back to Pakistani without running into IN units along the way.
The whole point of the exercise was in escaping the fall of East Pakistan, escaping the IN blockade and making to a 'friendly' port, until she could safely return to Pakistan.

What is it you don't understand about my comment?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Joydeep Ghosh: The Agni-3 is being used as a test-platform to validate various on-board systems that will eventually end up on the Agni-5. No one uses the Prithvi-3 as an operational weapon system. What makes you think Vietnam or Malaysia is interested in acquiring the BrahMos? Vietnam has already acquired the Bastion/Yakhont. And given the enormity of India’s orders for the BrahMos, there’s just no need to export such missiles. Do check with NEXTER Systems of France, Lockheed Martin of the US and Krauss Maffei Wegmann of Germany why they’re all developing 155mm/52-cal naval guns for next-generation principal surface combatants and only then come to a conclusion as whether one is going backwards (as you’ve alleged) or forwards. Which existing missiles you want cannistered? The Nirbhay is a cruise missile-simulating target drone powered by NPO Saturn-built 36MT turbofan that will NEITHER be air-launched, NOR will it be employed as any kind of operational cruise missile due to Russia’s adherence to MTCR regulations. You can read more about the Nirbhay at:
Sagarika can never be inducted simply because Sagarika is not a weapon, but the name for a DRDO-led project office.

Aslam said...

i firmly think pakistan should merge with china to become one country (pakistan will be autonomous region and will also comprise Xinjiand and Inner Mongolia as they are Islamic regions) - to become a superpower to counter USA. In fact I'm convinced this trend will spark integration of other Central Asian countries into this entities. I'm studying at LUMS and this, by the way, is the topic of my thesis.

Anonymous said...

Aslam, excellent option. Pakistan will be happy, but the question is whether china will ever take up such risk? And how exactly an Islamic nation going to be autonomous entity of an atheist nation?
for those who beleive that China has an equal partnership with Pakistan, that is a myth. China considers pakistan as a vassel state, a counter to India and US and for strategic access. Friendship cannot be like one gives and other takes.
When they can handle pakistan with all their objective met without any hurdle currently, why will they ever want to merge with Pakistan.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Aslam: I wish you the very best for your thesis and all your future endeavours. But I also have a few questions for you:
1) In your perception, does the PRC look positively upon cultural autonomy while frowning upon religious autonomy? I ask this because had Beijing really embraced the idea of religious pluralism then the issue of the Dalai Lama and demands for Tibetan autonomy would have been resolved a long time ago, wouldn’t it? And as Anon@11.32PM has raised the issue, how can an aethist country like China give any kind of autonomy to an Islamic Republic? It’s like mixing diesel with water.
2) Have you taken into account the extremely virulent and divisive nature of the on-going sectarian clashes between the Sunnis and Shias throughout the Muslim Ummah? Will it ultimately end in the way it has been foretold by the Holy Prophet PBUHin the Hadith (or Hadis)? And if it has no end in sight, then which sect will the Central Asian Republics side with?
3) Do you believe in the above-mentioned Book of Revelations for followers of the Islamic faith and if so, is it true that following the resolution of the Sunni-Shia issue (after the winning sect captures the holy sites of Mecca and Medina), the rest of humanity will collectively recognise the supremacy of Islam and embrace it? I ask this because for more than a decade, I have come across several Pakistani Mullahs and their Southeast Asia-based followers (most of whom are of Pakistani origin) that are based in Southeast Asia, claiming that such a revelation will indeed come true.
4) Are the Central Asian Republics really interested in embracing the kind of religious practices currently prevalent in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan? I ask this because it seems these Central Asian Republics have—since their inception--never hesitated to expel the fanatical Mujahideen elements from their countries which, consequently, has led to all these elements converging within Pakistan and wreaking internal havoc. Even a person like Gen Pervez Musharraf during an interview featured in a recent two-part BBC series on the ‘Secret war on Terror’ admitted that some 25,000-odd Mujahideen were brought in to fight against both the Soviets in Afghanistan throughout the 1980s and were later used as mercenaries to further the strategic objectives of the then rulers of Pakistan (like Gen Zia ul-Haq).
5) Can’t the Islamic Republic of Pakistan therefore learn a few lessons on internal security from these Central Asian Republics, leave along dreaming about converting them into Islamic republics?
6) In you view, will territorial integration alone suffice to make the PRC powerful enough to engage in strategic defiance of not just the US, but also the EU? I ask this because even the EU, Scandinavia, Japan, the ROK, Australia, the Gulf Cooperation Council and ASEAN seem to be quite happy to live with the US as the predominant superpower.

Anonymous said...

"Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Hacked: Japan Defense Industry's First Cyberattack"

Anything to be worried about here?

Any chance Shourya's range will be increased?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

Nothing to be worried about as yet. There's no operational reqmt as yet for increasing the Shaurya's range.

Mr. Ra said...

Pakistan and China albeit diverse enough, are already the top members of a deep theological axis, which may soon reveal itself.

That is why I wanted fastest and clearest track for MMRCA and 155/52/45 Howitzers and now I feel the time may not be adequate enough. Hope I am wrong.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To MrRA: Eagerly awaiting the unravelling of this theological axis. But don't get over-worried about the M-MRCAs or 155/52-cal howitzers, since Beijing has its own boiling pots. Read this, for instance:

Mr. Ra said...

Thanx. In reality China is now a Fascist state and Pakistan almost a failed state. So in order to divert the attention of their subjects from the issues of dissidence and basic contradictions, they can have every chance and opportunity to go ahead for a pseudo-nationalist or pseudo-religious adventurous war against a common enemy like India on any pretext.

joydeep ghosh said...

@prasun da

thanks for your reply, but i am still asking a few questions

1. 155mm/52 caliber in ships, what effect will it have have on the ships hydrodynamics

2. Where is the platform to launch 600 km ALCM you talked about, since Sukhoi 30MKI can only carry Brahmos, my say is that the 600 km ALCM will be a Maritime Strike Weapon on LRMR/MRMR for IN. your view

3. You asked which missiles canistered. I am saying about the Agni 1/2, can that be done

4. Anything on Sub launched Brahmos

5. Any chances of your unsolicited advice (as said by you) becoming a reality

more later


Joydeep Ghosh

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Joydeep Ghosh: There will bo no adverse effects whatsoever on the warship's hydrodynamics. The ALCM under development can be carried by the Mirage 2000 and Su-30MKI. Check this:
The existing Agni-1/2s cannot be cannistered. As for my unsolicited advice becoming a reality, all I can say is Inshaallah. Regarding the sub-launched BrahMos, which navy or R & D institution worldwide will have a submarine available for conducting test-firings? Any idea?

Anonymous said...

LUMS i heard is a premier HE institution in Pak...for them to approve such a illogical thesis speaks of the education quality thr...wonder what 3rd rank unis would produce...chances of pakistani landing on pluto next winter?lolzz

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@12.31PM: I concur.

SS said...

1. I have two comments on your piece regarding induction of precision missiles vis a vis 155 mm Howitzers. Please note that missiles cannot replace field guns. Field guns are a very essential component of the field army, mainly for close interdiction tasks as well as to provide destructive covering fire to ground forces. Missile is a one time launch weapon and has little staying power, whereas gun can fire thousands of shells in a short period of time at the same cost on the Battle feild. It is a misleading comment that DRDO is developing precision short range missiles to make up for weakness in guns. Please note that the requirement of only long range interdiction can be carried out by missiles. It will be a sheer waste of resources to carry out close interdiction say below 40 km by missiles. As the numbers of missiles will be restricted by the enormous cost These can never replace the tasks performed by 155 mm Howitzers. Please note that precision Guided munitions with accuracies of two to three feet can also be fired by guns.
2. My second comment is on mounting the G-6 ( Denel Turret) on T-72. This was done and was a dismal failure, a tank turret weighs close to 9 tons while an SP Gun turret weigs about 17 tons. Even with upgraded engine T-72 can barely move with this kind of weight! The best option would be to to revive the Bhim a G-6 Turret on a modified ARJUN Chassis. The Bhim is still one of the World's most potent weapons given up by our powers to whom national Security is less important than perhaps personal gain !

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To SS: The mobility deficiencies you've highlighted regarding the T-6 atop a T-72M applied only to the version of the T-72 that was powered by a 780hp engine. Such deficiencies were removed after 2000 when the T-72's hull was made available with a 1,000hp engine. The Arjun Mk1's hull was selected by the DRDO at a time when the ren-engined T-72 was not yet available from Uralvagonzavod JSC.