Thursday, June 4, 2009

India Seeks to Extend Missile Defense Reach

India intends to develop defenses capable of intercepting longer-range enemy missiles, the Hindu newspaper reported yesterday

New Delhi ultimately hopes to be able to counter weapons with ranges as high as 3,700 miles, said V.K. Saraswat of India's Defense Research and Development Organization. The South Asian state is today capable of shooting down missiles with a range of roughly 1,200 miles, he said.

Bolstering missile defenses has taken on special importance for New Delhi as its regional rivals have added to their arsenals of nuclear warheads and nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, according to the newspaper. Saraswat stressed that India maintains a no-first-use policy (The Hindu, June 3)

DRDO aims to strengthen indigenisation programme

In an effort to strenghten indegenisation of artillery equipment, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has launched a programme named Component Design and Execution (CODE). The programme targets 70% indegenisation, up from the present 30%, in the next eight years. DRDO director A Sivathanu Pillai said the stress would be on localisation of component production, for which around 30 different industries have been identified.
Talking to reporters after handing over 16 MBT Arjun tanks to the 43rd regiment of Indian Army at the DRDO facility at Avadi, Sivathanupillai said the Ministry of Defence has given special importance to self-reliance in artillery equipment manufacturing.
The MoD has been keen on self reliance as it suffered a lot during the four-decade long development of MBT Arjun, when they found difficult to get technology and components from foreign countries. MoD also believes that indegenisation would also considerably bring down the cost of design and development of artillery.
"We have also tied up with companies like L&T and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) for development of software exclusively for the Indian Army. Development of own software is very important, as the emerging focus is on electronic warfare," Sivathanupillai said.
Terming MBT Arjun as one of the most sophisticated battle tanks available in the world at present, Sivathanupillai said another batch of 79 more Arjuns would be commissioned by March 2010. With the new additions, the Indian Army now has 45 Arjuns. With an engine power of 1500 hp and a 120-mm rifled gun that hit targets accurately while on the move, it is a MBT Arjun is a big boost to the Army's fire power.
He said India's missile development programme was also progressing successfully. BrahMos and Prithvi missiles have been commissioned and now the focus is on Nag, the anti-tank missile being developed under the integrated missile development programme, he said.