In the last few decades, India’s long-range artillery and missiles have advanced significantly. Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) was creating an upgraded version of the Pinaka Multi-Barrel Rocket launcher to address the challenges of the future, which include outstanding accuracy of assaults at extended ranges (MBRL).
DRDO successfully tested the expanded Pinaka MBRL at the Pokhran ranges on April 9th. In addition, on April 11th, the much-discussed and long-awaited Nag Anti-Tank Guided Missile (HELINA), which was launched from a helicopter, was tested at a higher height from the Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH).
The acquisition of both of these guns in sufficient numbers will considerably improve infantry operations along the northern border, where Indian soldiers are at a disadvantage due to the Chinese military’s superior equipment.
The broadened scope The Pinaka MBRL is expected to begin replacing the Indian Army’s shorter-range Mk-1 model soon. The extended variant has a range of 65-90 kilometres, more than doubling the range of artillery using DRDO-built Pinaka and Russian Grad MBRLs.
Furthermore, the Pinaka extended-range rockets can be equipped with Pinaka Area Denial Munitions, which were also tested on April 9th. “A total of 24 EPRS rockets were fired [from] diverse ranges throughout the last fortnight,” the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a statement.
The rockets met all trial objectives satisfactorily, achieving the required accuracy and consistency.” A guided form of the Pinaka MBRLs is also being developed by DRDO, which will have a range of over a hundred kilometres with pin-point precision.
When it comes to the Himalayan border with China, the HELINA, or Heli-launched NAG Guided Missile, is a gamechanger. The HELINA has a range of 7 kilometres, putting enemy tank commanders in curving terrain at a significant disadvantage. The missile is light, weighing only 43 kilogrammes, and will have little effect on the rarefied environment over Ladakh.
In terms of firepower, HELINA can pierce armour up to 800mm thick, which is far more than the light and medium weight tanks that operated on the frontier could. Armour plating that is around 800mm thick is used on even the heaviest tanks. In 2021, HELINA was tested in the scorching desert of Pokhran. The missile should go into production soon after successful trials in the rugged terrain.
“In continuation of validation experiments completed at Pokhran in Rajasthan, evidence of efficacy at high altitudes paves the way for its integration on the DHRUV helicopter,” according to the Press Information Bureau. Senior Army officers and DRDO experts were present during the experiments.”
The HELINA’s successful integration on the DHRUV lays the way for a simple integration with the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), which just received its first order from the Ministry of Defense for 15 units.
The DRDO will shift its focus to more advanced weapon systems in the pipeline once the HELINA and Extended Pinaka are operational. In January, the indigenous man-portable anti-tank guided missile system, or MPATGM, was successfully tested, and it will be deployed in the coming months.
Following the Galwan clashes, there was a greater emphasis on improved infantry/artillery weapons. The Ministry of Defense has increased acquisitions to close firepower gaps, signed an Ak-203 manufacturing agreement with Russia, and accelerated missile and other military equipment development with a focus on indigenization.