Trends in missile development in India

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  1. Defcon 1

    Defcon 1 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Trends in missile development in India: an interview with DRDO's missile man Avinash Chander

    Geek at Large caught up with Avinash Chander, Chief Controller Research and Development ( Missiles and Strategic Systems), DRDO, at Metcalfe House, New Delhi last week for a brief chat on some trends in India's missile programmes. His contributions to the success of India's long range ballistic missile programmes were recognised recently in the form of a Padma Shree Award.

    Saurav Jha: DRDO recently completed developmental tests of the K-15 even as it is moving towards canisterised systems on land. Did this move towards canisterisation grow out of DRDO's underwater launch programmes?

    Avinash Chander: Well, activity in this domain has been going on for sometime now. Our success with underwater launch technology did give us added confidence in the domain of canisterised systems. We are now quite confident in this area and all future Agni series missiles are likely to be canisterised and that might include the Agni-4.

    Saurav Jha: The Agni-4 as well?

    Avinash Chander: Future versions of the Agni -4 may be canisterised as well.

    Saurav Jha: Like the K-15, will we also see a land based version of the K-4 SLBM which is reported to have been under development?

    Avinash Chander: There is a possibility. A land-based K-4 is under consideration.

    Saurav Jha: Given that the K-15 doesn't actually leave the atmosphere and undergoes powered flight for a part of its journey, how would you classify it?

    Avinash Chander: The K-15 falls within the category of shaped trajectory systems.

    Saurav Jha: One of your monthly newsletters last year stated that the Agni-III had gone into production. So are the stages of the Agni-III made of low alloy steel? Also I read somewhere that all-composite Agnis may be in the offing. Isn't that an expensive proposition?

    Avinash Chander: The Agni III is an inducted system. The Agni III's stages are made of maraging steel. In the case of Agni V, two stages out of three are made of composites. Composites can actually be cheaper when mass produced.

    Saurav Jha: Given that missile defence applications of directed energy weapons are being explored worldwide, is DRDO looking to future proof its long range strike systems? Are MIRVs and MaRVs being considered?

    Avinash Chander: Well this is a continuous process. The history of warfare has always been one of weapons and counterweapons. So naturally our strategic strike systems have to keep evolving taking into account anti-ballistic missile developments in our neighbourhood. Intelligent warhead design, MaRVs etc are all part and parcel of this process. MIRVs also give you higher leakage probability.

    Saurav Jha: DRDO now has proven capability in the domain of long range ballistic missile systems. But some would say that achieving precision accuracy from these missiles at very long ranges is dependent on something beyond DRDO's control i.e on the availability of reliable global positioning satellite co-ordinates to remove cumulative errors. Given that India is yet to roll out its own GPS, how would you respond to this?

    Avinash Chander: The most important part of a long range missile's journey is actually the launch phase, which if effective provides the greatest accuracy. So if your error rate is low to begin with, all that you need is a few fixes in between as you approach the target and that cannot be denied to us, as nobody can jam on a global level.

    Saurav Jha: So you are confident about India's delivery capability?

    Avinash Chander: Absolutely. Nobody can stop it.

    Saurav Jha's Blog : Trends in missile development in India: an interview with DRDO's missile man Avinash Chander
     
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