New Delhi, 13
appears as if by luck and some design this BJP Government and George
Fernandes will go down as the vehicles that energised the hardware
of India's defence and the DRDO is also beginning to deliver on
projects during their time. We hope this trend will accelerate.
There is more money available and COTS i.e. Computers Off The Self
Technology is helping to fuel improvements to projects with better
software while the experiences of Prithvi and Agni and ISRO are
helping Indian missile technology.
most promising results being shown (after the DRDO's sonars for the
Navy steered by Dr V K Aatre), are of the BRAHMOS missile. On Sunday
the 9th November the missile was test fired successfully once again
for the fifth time, this time from a mobile launcher. The DRDO is
steering the Brahmos project with Russian NPO Mach as a Company with
co-investment with Russian funds lying in India. The missile is
actually based on the very capable and proven Yokhant missile of
Russia and with Indian inputs of inertial navigation it can be a
future winner for all the three services. It has export potentiality
too. The press statement below said 45 Russian scientists were
present at the launch on 9th November at the Chandipur
range, which is well fitted out for missile tests. Two tests had
also been carried out from sea and one was from INS Rajput, which
could be retro fitted. Larsen and Tubro had managed the
stabilization of the Prithvi for sea trials and could do the same
for the Brahmos. It is a challenging task but can be a winner.
Indo-Russian joint venture cruise missile Brahmos was successfully
test-fired from the Chandipur defence base on Wednesday 29th October
and again on 9th Nov. In addition to the Indian
scientists, about 45 Russian scientists were involved in the test.
The missile can be used for naval and air-operations. It works on
the ‘fire and forget’ principle and can carry a warhead weighing
up to 200 kg. The missile is 9.2 meters long, weighs about three
tonnes and has a strike range of 290 km. Sources say it can travel
at twice the speed of sound and can climb to 14 km. The
missile, charged with solid propellant, has a sensor to track its
target. Its course can be changed within 20 km of the target. These
tests were part of trials being conducted before induction.
Scientific advisor to the DRDO Chief VK Atre said, “Preparations
are in full swing, but the tests will be carried out early next
year.” Earlier, Defence Minister George Fernandes had said that
the 3,000 km range Agni-III will be tested by this year-end. The
army has already raised an artillery division, under the aegis of
the Southern Command, for its missile regiments. While the Prithvi
variants are being inducted, the Army will soon take in the 700km
range Agni-I sources said. The regiments are expected to be
operational by 2004 end.
relate the prognosis and speculate on the future, as the Indian Navy
already has the 200 plus km KLUB 54 ME land attack missiles in its
inventory in the INS Talwar class and some submarines called the
Harpoonski, the Russian diminutive for Harpoon. Brahmos has
potential for the future with greater ranges.
first Gulf War in 1991 saw the advent of LACMs (Land-Attack Cruise
Missiles) in shape of United States Tomahawk. Previously it was
known that ballistic missile submarines could effectively act as a
nuclear deterrent and aircraft carriers were effective in
force-projection on enemy homeland in both nuclear and conventional
scenario. LACMs made it possible even for attack submarines and
Cruisers and Destroyers to influence the battle on land. Presently
the Tomahawk FCS (Fire Control Systems) on the United States ships
is TWCS or ATWCS (AN/SWG-3). The FCS on submarines is the CCS
(Combat Control System) Mk1, CCS Mk2, or AN/BSY-1.
Tomahawk is an all-weather submarine or ship-launched LACM. After
launch, a solid propellant propels the missile until a small
turbofan engine takes over for the cruise portion of the flight.
Radar detection is difficult because of the missile's small
cross-section and low altitude flight. Similarly, infrared detection
is difficult because the turbofan engine emits little heat. Systems
include GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver, an upgrade of the
optical DSMAC (Digital Scene Matching Area Correlation) system, TOA
(Time of Arrival) control, and improved 402 turbo engines.
onboard computer manages three guidance systems. The INS (Inertial
Navigation System) keeps track of the smallest change in velocity of
the missile from its launch. If the warhead is nuclear to cause
wide-area destruction the degree of accuracy delivered by INS is
in case of a conventional payload to achieve greater accuracy and
precision TERCOM (Terrain Contour Matching) system is used. Stored
in the missiles computer memory is a set of digital altitude
profiles of strips of landscapes at certain points of its intended
flight path. Manipulating radar signals, TERCOM compares the height
of the terrain passing below the missile to the digital altitude
profiles stored inside. If a “drift” is noticed course
correction is made to put the missile “back on path.” The
process is repeated several times to check the “drift”. Thus a
fair chance of obtaining an accuracy of even 10 metres in certain
cases may be expected. Also a flight-path can be input into the
onboard system to make the missile “fly around” and thus evade
the enemy defences. The United States NIMA (National Imagery and
Mapping Agency) provides the necessary databases for planning.
Targets and maps are generated for TERCOM and DSMAC. The database
used by TERCOM to maintain its course is based on topographical maps
constructed through surveys by reconnaissance satellites.
Block III development onwards GPS (Global Positioning System) is
made to complement the navigational data computed by INS. Some
deficiencies of TERCOM are also taken care of since TERCOM is
somewhat less effective on say the flat Iraqi deserts where the
average height of terrain does not vary over long stretches for
proper identification. GPS is based on an array of low-earth NAVSTAR
(NAVigation Satellite Targeting And Ranging) satellites. Computers
onboard the missile, communicate with the satellites to accurately
determine their instantaneous location. Enroute, some missiles may
also execute a PST (Precision Strike Tomahawk Mission) transmitting
its status back to a ground station via satellite communication.
the missile closes to the target, DSMAC (Digital Scene Matching Area
Correlator) using zoom lens collects images and matches them with
the snaps of the approach to the target stored in the memory, and
finally leads the missile to the exact target.
the 1991 Persian Gulf War about 1,100 Tomahawks have been fired,
including up to 70 against Taliban and al-Qaeda targets in
Afghanistan in late 2001. Tomahawk was used extensively during
Desert Storm in 1991, in Iraq in January and June 1993, in Bosnia
(Deliberate Force) in 1995 and in Iraq (Desert Strike) in 1996. Four
hundred Block II and Block III missiles were fired on five separate
occasions. They were again operational in the Gulf War II in 2003.
Tomahawk land attack missiles also played a critical role in the
1999 Kosovo air campaign. Used selectively, they were sent to
destroy over 50 percent of key headquarters and electrical power
station targets. Initial attacks against Yugoslav C4I
(Command, Communications, Control and Intelligence) infrastructure.
This was accompanied by extensive electronic jamming of both
military and public communications, remote targeting by long-range
air launched cruise missiles, achievement of “information
dominance” utilizing space-based sensors and satellites and air
strikes launched from faraway bases in United States and Europe with
assistance of IFR (In-Flight Refueling) tankers. A joint-operation
on such a massive scale with cooperation among the services of a
multi-national coalition is exemplary indeed.
significance of LACMs was well appreciated by the Indian Navy
planners. They obtained their first LACM from Russia in the shape of
the LACM variant of the Klub (SS-N-27 Sizzler) ASCM (Anti-Ship
Cruise Missile) designed to engage static and slow-moving targets,
whose co-ordinates are known in advance, even if these targets are
protected by active defences and electronic countermeasures. Since
the “more accurate” navigation facilities from the GPS system
was reserved for the United States and their allies while for others
the signals are prone to “degradation”, Russian GLONASS series
of satellites possibly provides the guidance. Whether the
Indo-Russian supersonic PJ-10 BrahMos matures as an ASCM or LACM
needs to be seen.
media reports are correct the limited range (around 300 kilometres)
of both Klub and BrahMos may be viewed as limitations. To strike
deep inland of the enemy the Indian Navy ships and submarines will
need to venture unacceptably close to enemy shores where they may be
vulnerable to enemy strike fighters and coastal submarines. Thus a
LACM of a range of nearly 1,000 km should be the objective.
Indians are nevertheless working hard at it. The recent Israeli
assistance on INS technology is welcome. Indians have also obtained
gyroscopes and other related items from European nations and are
said to have successfully reverse-engineered them. Also there is a
persistant rumour over a “Super BrahMos” project that well
exceeds the 1,000-kilometre range.
wish DRDO all success –– to be great one has to dream and we
dream for a true Indian Land Attack Long Range missile –– it
could well be the Brahmos!