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Updated January 18th, 2024 at 11:13 IST

DRDO working to expand Pinaka MBRL’s reach with two variants of long-range rockets on horizon

Developed by DRDO, the Pinaka MBRL's success in exports to Armenia propels India's influence in the global arms market.

Yuvraj Tyagi
Pinaka Rocket
Pinaka MBRL | Image:ADGPI
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New Delhi: India's robust strides towards self-reliance in the defense sector are gaining global attention, with nations expressing keen interest in the indigenous 'Pinaka' Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL). Notably, two South American countries are eyeing this cutting-edge technology, signifying a paradigm shift in India's influence in the global arms market. 

Named after the bow of Lord Shiva, the Pinaka MBRL, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), has already showcased its prowess through successful exports to Armenia. The alluring capabilities of Pinaka have not only captured the interest of South American nations but have also propelled DRDO into a new phase of development. The organization is actively working on two variants of long-range rockets, with striking capacities at distances of 120 and 200 kilometers. 

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DRDO's ambitious rocket endeavor and enhanced capabilities 

DRDO's commitment to enhancing India's defense capabilities extends beyond Pinaka's success. Existing rockets, with a range of 75 to 80 kilometers, are being upgraded to extend their reach. This initiative involves increased collaboration with private and public sector industries, aligning with India's push for self-sufficiency. The long-range rockets, designed to be fired from the same launchers currently in service with the Indian Army, not only bolster capabilities but also promise cost-effective solutions.

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Private sector companies, crucial collaborators in the Pinaka MBRL project, are expected to play a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of the new rocket project. TATA Group and Larsen & Toubro, responsible for manufacturing launcher vehicles, along with Solar Industries and Munitions India Limited, contributing to rocket production, highlight the collaborative nature of India's defense advancements. 

DRDO's unmanned aerial vision: The Tapas drone project 

Simultaneously, DRDO is making significant strides in unmanned aerial systems, notably the Tapas medium-altitude, long endurance (MALE) drone. While the drone is yet to fully meet certain requirements, it has piqued the interest of one of the defense forces for operations around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Tapas drones, developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment Laboratory, have demonstrated remarkable capabilities, reaching altitudes of 28,000 feet and sustaining flights for over 18 hours during trials.

Despite falling short of the Joint Services Qualitative Requirements for prolonged flights at high altitudes, the Tapas drone showcases promise, especially for surveillance and reconnaissance operations. DRDO officials acknowledge the need for improvements in design and increased power to meet the service requirements, highlighting their commitment to refining and optimizing the drone's performance.  

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As DRDO, led by Dr. Samir V Kamat, focuses on major drone projects like Ghatak and initiatives like Archer, India's defense landscape is witnessing a transformative era marked by technological prowess and global appeal. The nation's journey towards self-sufficiency in defense is not just a strategic move but a testament to its emergence as a key player in the global arms market. 

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Published January 18th, 2024 at 11:13 IST

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