India’s state-funded defence research body DRDO successfully tested an upgraded version of its guided Pinaka rocket on Thursday at firing ranges in Odisha state. It is mounted on a Tatra truck for mobility. It is believed that the guided version of the Pinaka system is being developed in order to deliver nuclear warheads at short ranges.
"The weapons system impacted the intended targets with high precision and achieved the desired accuracy in all the missions,” an Indian defence official said.
The short-range guided Pinaka weapons system is equipped with a state-of-the-art guidance kit comprising an advanced navigation and control system.
The multi-barrel guided weapon system takes only 48 seconds to dump 7.2 tonnes of high explosives onto a target 80 km away, with an accuracy of 25 metres.
There are two pods containing six rockets each, capable of firing in salvo mode within 48 seconds, neutralising the area of around area of one square kilometres.
The Pinaka rocket will gradually replace the Russian SMERCH, which can flatten an area of 1.1 square kilometres.
The Indian Army intends to have 22 Pinaka regiments by 2026, including 12 regiments of guided Pinaka missiles. Each regiment would consist of three batteries of six Pinaka launchers mounted on Tatra trucks.
The Indian Army has 62 SMERCH batteries, which provide lethal support to infantry and tanks for launching frontal attacks.
DRDO has been conducting a series of tests of the country's new missile system for the past month against the backdrop of severing tension at the border along the Line of Control in the western border. On Tuesday, DRDO, Indian Air Force (IAF) and BrahMos jointly successfully conducted two BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles tests, one each from land and air platforms.
Early in the day, Pakistan military said that it is ready to respond to India in case of any misadventures by New Delhi. Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday said that the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) can escalate anytime, and the Indian Army is ready for an escalation in the wake of ceasefire violations by Pakistan on the borders since the change in Kashmir's status.