Indian, Russian rockets test-fired successfully First Published : 23 Jun 2009 11:45:58 AM IST Last Updated : 23 Jun 2009 12:52:41 PM IST BALASORE: Barely a month before the fresh test of India’s most powerful nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-III, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully tested a series of Indian and Russian rocket systems from a defence base off Orissa coast. The 3,500-km range Agni-III missile is all set to be tested for the forth time by the end of July. The indigenously built multi-barrel rocket launcher (MBRL) ‘Pinaka’ system and Russia-made ‘Smearch’ Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) were tested last week from the Proof and Experimental Establishment (PXE) test range, a part of DRDO, at Chandipur-on-sea, 15 km from Balasore. “The tests were conducted between Monday and Friday. While 16 rounds of Smearch rockets were fired, 18 rounds of Pinaka rockets were tested and all the tests yielded desired results,” a scientist involved with the project said today. The tests were conducted by the PXE scientists while the technical staff of the integrated test range (ITR) provided strategic support. The tests termed as sample tests were aimed to assess the stability of the rockets in flight as well as accuracy and consistency. Defence sources said, the Pinaka MBRL, which is also known as the Weapon Area System (WAS), can fire rockets with a range of 39-40 km and also can launch 12 rockets with 1.2 tonne of high explosives within 40 seconds. It is capable of acting as a force-multiplier and can gradually replace the current artillery system. “The indigenous Pinaka can neutralise a target area of 350 sq km and is meant to supplement the existing artillery system at a range beyond 30 km. Its quick reaction time and high rate of fire provide the Army an edge during low-intensity war-like situations. The unguided rocket system put on trial here could be used to neutralise a higher geographical area with its salvo of rockets,” the scientist said. On the other hand, the Smearch tests were conducted both in solo and salvo mode by the DRDO scientists and the rocket target acquisition unit of Army. The Russian Smearch MLRS is the most powerful and the perfect in the world. It is intended to defeat live power, destroy armoured vehicles, fortifications and command centres in 20-70-km range. “Smearch launch vehicle can fire 12 rockets at a time. It is able to fire single rockets, or salvo from two to all 12 rockets. Full salvo lasts 38 seconds. While the diameter of the launcher is about 300 mm, the rocket’s diameter is 214 mm,” said a defence scientist. “It also has the capability of launching surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles. The system can be integrated with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to provide a new dimension to artillery defence system,” he added.