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Okabe Rintarou

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gutenmorgen

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Depends. We could, but where does it fit in with our doctrine and ORBAT? That is the question we need to ask ourselves. Do we have areas in the front that are so remote where infrastructure can't be developed to take a sub-20 ton Tatra 8X8 High Mobility Vehicle mounted Pinaka? If yes, does it make tactical sense to take an MLRS system there? Keep in mind that if we can't take Pinaka there, then that also means we likely can't take any 155mm artillery piece there either, unless by Chinook (M777 only). And if there are such areas, we had better focus on road infrastructure development there otherwise such areas will only be defended by 105mm and infantry.

As far as I can see, there would only be a handful of such areas, if at all. And only in the mountains. In such areas, would we benefit from 90km range MLRS? Immediate tactical needs would be better served by mortars. Lots of them. Interdiction can be done iva other means if MLRS can't be brought there. Such as MRPKS of Army and DAS by Air Force.

Keep in mind, the Americans named that system as HIMARS because there MLRS system was the tracked M270 MLRS. HIMARS was a lighter version mounted on a 6X6 wheeled High Mobility Vehicle mostly for the USMC. In our case, Pinaka already has that level of high mobility. Do we really need a higher level of mobility for a 90km range MLRS?


There is Pinaka 2, a 300mm MLRS that is said to be in the works for ranges upto 150km and warhead weights of around 100kg.
Then there is Prahaar for upto 200km/250kg and Pralay for upto 500km/500kg. If mass produced, their cost wouldn't be prohibitively high.

You said PHL-16. That has got around 8 370mm rockets with a range and warhead similar to Prahaar. And the PHL-16 can also fire two TBM like American MLRS that fire ATACMS. The Chinese TBM is a 750mm missile with less range and warhead capacity than Pralay missile.

As for the disadvantage of vertical launch you mentioned, the tactical advantages outweigh them in Himalayas, where vertical launch means you can hide in defilade behind a mountain range right at the foot of the mountain, safe from counter-battery fire. Chinese PHL-16 will face this limitation that it will have to come out in the open or else its rockets won't clear the ridgeline. Compared to that, the minor increase in complexity due to a TVC and control surfaces that would otherwise still be needed to improve CEP means its an acceptable trade off for the ability to fire from defilade.

We have systems comparable to the Chinese ones. Its just that they aren't tested and deployed yet.
Yeah, I agree with the advantages in the Himalayas of a vertically launched system but at least the claimed range of PHL-16 370mm rockets is 350 KM (500km for 750mm TBMs recently tested near LAC). I dont know if that is exaggerated or not but Pinaka 2 doesn't seem to even come close to that range.
 

Okabe Rintarou

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Yeah, I agree with the advantages in the Himalayas of a vertically launched system but at least the claimed range of PHL-16 370mm rockets is 350 KM (500km for 750mm TBMs recently tested near LAC). I dont know if that is exaggerated or not but Pinaka 2 doesn't seem to even come close to that range.
370mm rocket flying out to 350km means its warhead would be lighter. Maybe around 100kg warhead, same as Pinaka.

Pinaka 2, for example, is meant to be a 300mm rocket flying out to 150km with a 250kg warhead.

Prahaar at 420mm/200km/250kg is more of a match to the PHL-16's 370mm rockets.

Basically a difference in tactics between IA and PLA because IA is the one that dictated requirements for these TBM and MLRS.
 
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Okabe Rintarou

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Rate of fire won't be an issue then?
Won't be comparable to an MLRS, but would be close enough with 2-4 missiles in one launcher. Prahaar also carries larger warhead (250kg) than Chinese 370mm (exact warhead size unknown), maybe even more than twice as large. So total ordnance lobbed on target would be largely comparable IMHO. And since these are precision guided munitions, rate of fire matters even less. These aren't meant to carpet bomb the enemy. PGMs are more effective.
 

Kuldeepm952

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370mm rocket flying out to 350km means its warhead would be lighter. Maybe around 100kg warhead, same as Pinaka.

Pinaka 2, for example, is meant to be a 300mm rocket flying out to 150km with a 250kg warhead.

Prahaar at 420mm/200km/250kg is more of a match to the PHL-16's 370mm rockets.

Basically a difference in tactics between IA and PLA because IA is the one that dictated requirements for these TBM and MLRS.
One thing needs to be corrected here, prahar project has been shelved and the follow on offshoot renamed prahar aka pranash missiles is being pursued, it has 200kg warhead and 380mm dia which is similiar in lines to 370mm series rockets of china, length being 6.7m which is less than 7+m for chinese ones. So there is already a competitor for that class of chinese rockets.and a lengthened pranash should be able to strike targets in 300km range.
The only problem being that India never developed dedicated heavy trucks for missile carriers and we can't really expect same amount of rocket loadout. One interesting point being that this new prahar weapon system is to be based on a 6*6 hmv, so not more than 4 projectiles per vehicle.
1632426654113 (2).png
 

gutenmorgen

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370mm rocket flying out to 350km means its warhead would be lighter. Maybe around 100lg warhead, same as Pinaka.

Pinaka 2, for example, is meant to be a 300mm rocket flying out to 150km with a 250kg warhead.

Prahaar at 420mm/200km/250kg is more of a match to the PHL-16's 370mm rockets.

Basically a difference in tactics between IA and PLA because IA is the one that dictated requirements for these TBM and MLRS.
Well, what can I say if the IA itself has these requirements but as a noob who is analysing this in the comfort and safety of his home, I don't think its a very good idea to only focus on accuracy with fewer missiles. Its necessary to have very accurate tactical missiles for precision strikes against certain targets but number of systems and the ability to fire more rockets/missiles is just as important. It not only has operational benefits but also psychological. I worry if IA is buying too much into western doctrines. No matter what the US says about their systems being more high-tech or precise, they too have always kept up with the numbers game. More ships, more fighter jets, more missiles than your adversaries.

Add to that rate of fire and mobility, as already mentioned by other users.
But IA knows better so i can just hope that they are prepared and have already thought through these basics.
 

omaebakabaka

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Won't be comparable to an MLRS, but would be close enough with 2-4 missiles in one launcher. Prahaar also carries larger warhead (250kg) than Chinese 370mm (exact warhead size unknown), maybe even more than twice as large. So total ordnance lobbed on target would be largely comparable IMHO. And since these are precision guided munitions, rate of fire matters even less. These aren't meant to carpet bomb the enemy. PGMs are more effective.
Other point is HIMARS are being intercepted on a fairly regular basis atleast when a target is defended well with AD...so longer ranges probably means more time for AD to intercept. Needs more like iskander quasi ballistic for precision hits leading to more cost arguably. I think lot of lessons can be learned from Russia Ukraine war regarding MLRS and warheads and mobile AD....drones seem to be the key the kamikazi type in overall strategy against a resourceful opponent
 

Okabe Rintarou

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One thing needs to be corrected here, prahar project has been shelved and the follow on offshoot renamed prahar aka pranash missiles is being pursued, it has 200kg warhead and 380mm dia which is similiar in lines to 370mm series rockets of china, length being 6.7m which is less than 7+m for chinese ones. So there is already a competitor for that class of chinese rockets.and a lengthened pranash should be able to strike targets in 300km range.
The only problem being that India never developed dedicated heavy trucks for missile carriers and we can't really expect same amount of rocket loadout. One interesting point being that this new prahar weapon system is to be based on a 6*6 hmv, so not more than 4 projectiles per vehicle.View attachment 173188
OK I just spent some time down in the Prahaar/Pragati/Pranash rabbit hole and its got no end. The dimensions I mentioned were of the OG Prahaar from over a decade ago. The newer missile is sleeker. as per this poster from 2020. But this poster isn't entirely reliable even if its official:-
  • The HMV shown is 8X8, not 6X6.
  • It says the launch angle is inclined but Prahaar has only ever been launched vertically during tests.
After the OG Prahaar there was Pragati mentioned in some poster in 2017:-

Pragati SSM.png


And then there was a missile tested in 2018:-

Prahar 2018 test.jpg


Obviously this missile tested in 2018 is very different from the OG Prahaar. But its not called Pragati or Pranash, the letters on the missile clearly read: Prahaar.

And then news of Pranash only came out in 2020 and it was stated that it'll be ready for testing in a couple of years and so Pranash is yet to fly. So we effectively have no idea what its finally going to be like. Specs put out so far are all over the place. Only thing consistent is the 8X8 Tatra HMV. Lets wait what configuration finally gets accepted.

Also your point about Chinese having heavier duty TELs, well that does have advantages but also has some downsides. PHL-16 weighs in at 45 tons. I'd imagine the IA Generals would be pretty annoyed if Pranash launcher ended up weighing as much all up. Anything on a Tatra 8X8 chassis would weigh upto 35 tons. So there are trade-offs to be made when trying to pack more missiles on one truck.
(sauce: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/mil...91-multiple-launch-rocket-system-casts-shadow )

Other point is HIMARS are being intercepted on a fairly regular basis atleast when a target is defended well with AD...so longer ranges probably means more time for AD to intercept. Needs more like iskander quasi ballistic for precision hits leading to more cost arguably. I think lot of lessons can be learned from Russia Ukraine war....
Prahaar and Pralay at least have manuever capability like Shaurya and Sagarika which were both quasi-ballistic. Makes AD task a bit harder. But @gutenmorgen and @Indx TechStyle 's point of having more missiles on a launcher does make sense here as it gives one the ability to saturate enemy AD and thus get past it. Obviously the point I made about how that would result in a heavier TEL and how IA is always touchy about heavy vehicles does come into play here as well.
 

omaebakabaka

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Prahaar and Pralay at least have manuever capability like Shaurya and Sagarika which were both quasi-ballistic. Makes AD task a bit harder. But @gutenmorgen and @Indx TechStyle 's point of having more missiles on a launcher does make sense here as it gives one the ability to saturate enemy AD and thus get past it. Obviously the point I made about how that would result in a heavier TEL and how IA is always touchy about heavy vehicles does come into play here as well.
At one point whole point of MLRS was cheap enough to launch a terrifying salvo against area targets but now we are talking about pgm's and in excess of 150 km and shorad interceptions and so on. Do these really belong at the batallion level anymore or more theater/division level weapons? From the Ukraine war, it is still unclear but one terrifying weapon I noticed at tactical level is TOS....do we have anything similar on t-72 or arjun chassis?
 

gutenmorgen

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OK I just spent some time down in the Prahaar/Pragati/Pranash rabbit hole and its got no end. The dimensions I mentioned were of the OG Prahaar from over a decade ago. The newer missile is sleeker. as per this poster from 2020. But this poster isn't entirely reliable even if its official:-
  • The HMV shown is 8X8, not 6X6.
  • It says the launch angle is inclined but Prahaar has only ever been launched vertically during tests.
After the OG Prahaar there was Pragati mentioned in some poster in 2017:-

View attachment 173199

And then there was a missile tested in 2018:-

View attachment 173202

Obviously this missile tested in 2018 is very different from the OG Prahaar. But its not called Pragati or Pranash, the letters on the missile clearly read: Prahaar.

And then news of Pranash only came out in 2020 and it was stated that it'll be ready for testing in a couple of years and so Pranash is yet to fly. So we effectively have no idea what its finally going to be like. Specs put out so far are all over the place. Only thing consistent is the 8X8 Tatra HMV. Lets wait what configuration finally gets accepted.

Also your point about Chinese having heavier duty TELs, well that does have advantages but also has some downsides. PHL-16 weighs in at 45 tons. I'd imagine the IA Generals would be pretty annoyed if Pranash launcher ended up weighing as much all up. Anything on a Tatra 8X8 chassis would weigh upto 35 tons. So there are trade-offs to be made when trying to pack more missiles on one truck.
(sauce: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/mil...91-multiple-launch-rocket-system-casts-shadow )


Prahaar and Pralay at least have manuever capability like Shaurya and Sagarika which were both quasi-ballistic. Makes AD task a bit harder. But @gutenmorgen and @Indx TechStyle 's point of having more missiles on a launcher does make sense here as it gives one the ability to saturate enemy AD and thus get past it. Obviously the point I made about how that would result in a heavier TEL and how IA is always touchy about heavy vehicles does come into play here as well.
So, from what you've found, it seems to me that they are at least testing chinese like configs (which may or may not have 300-350km like ranges). It may lack a few missiles per launcher when compared with the chinese ones.

These type of systems have different/more potential in the mountains, at least the guided ones. Again from a non-specialist perspective, I guess a mlrs heavy bombardment attack will be much more potent and will provide a huge advantage in the Himalayas, for both sides. By its very nature, the infra in those regions is quite constrictive. Imagine how vulnerable an army contingent is, moving through some of roads where you can't move anywhere but forward or backwards. And thats why they ll be properly protected in times of war.
If you can overwhelm the AD, you can deal a devastating damage to your adversary. But for that you need a system cheap, reliable and quick-reacting enough so that you can afford to fire even 2-3 rockets per enemy vehicle without blinking an eye.
A more costly TBM can probably go through the AD but the damage per missile will not be enough to be fired without thinking of consequences in monetary terms.
 

Okabe Rintarou

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At one point whole point of MLRS was cheap enough to launch a terrifying salvo against area targets but now we are talking about pgm's and in excess of 150 km and shorad interceptions and so on. Do these really belong at the batallion level anymore or more theater/division level weapons? From the Ukraine war, it is still unclear but one terrifying weapon I noticed at tactical level is TOS....do we have anything similar on t-72 or arjun chassis?
No we got nothing like TOS. In Indian Army MLRS are few. Less than 30-40 regiments total I think (including Grads, Pinakas and Smerch). They are mostly found only in the three Artillery Divisions (so a Corps level asset, that too for the Strike Corps only mostly).

So, from what you've found, it seems to me that they are at least testing chinese like configs (which may or may not have 300-350km like ranges). It may lack a few missiles per launcher when compared with the chinese ones.

These type of systems have different/more potential in the mountains, at least the guided ones. Again from a non-specialist perspective, I guess a mlrs heavy bombardment attack will be much more potent and will provide a huge advantage in the Himalayas, for both sides. By its very nature, the infra in those regions is quite constrictive. Imagine how vulnerable an army contingent is, moving through some of roads where you can't move anywhere but forward or backwards. And thats why they ll be properly protected in times of war.
If you can overwhelm the AD, you can deal a devastating damage to your adversary. But for that you need a system cheap, reliable and quick-reacting enough so that you can afford to fire even 2-3 rockets per enemy vehicle without blinking an eye.
A more costly TBM can probably go through the AD but the damage per missile will not be enough to be fired without thinking of consequences in monetary terms.
Agree. But that kind of stuff can be done at different ranges with different indirect firing systems. Mortars deserve a special mention, yet we don't have 180mm ones anymore and 120mm are too few in numbers. 155mm Artillery cannons and MRPKS at mid-ranges and then Pinaka at long ranges.

Anything beyond Pinaka range falls under "interdiction" as its outside of the Tactical Battle Area. These targets could be convoys and troop concentrations as you mentioned, but most of the effort would be at supply dumps, bridges, C2 nodes, AD, etc. At interdiction ranges, these targets have the highest importance. Obviously this is my limited understanding and I may be wrong but convoys and troops concentrated in staging areas are usually only targeted within the Tactical Battle Area. Ofcourse this could be a direct consequence of low number of long range vectors, which would be the case even for the PLA RF.

Also, Prahaar unit cost is slated to be as much as the equivalent Chinese system, even if the Chinese system appears to be more like a MLRS due to more missiles fitting on the same launcher. So don't worry about our systems being TBMs and thus costing more. They realize how cheap TBMs need to be. Recently Gen Rawat talked about an Indian "Rocket Force". He didn't go into exacting detail but whatever the details, it means the top brass are now serious about mirroring Chinese long range vectors in capability and numbers. So I think our boffins have been told by the military just how cost effective they want these systems to be.
 

Lonewolf

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OK I just spent some time down in the Prahaar/Pragati/Pranash rabbit hole and its got no end. The dimensions I mentioned were of the OG Prahaar from over a decade ago. The newer missile is sleeker. as per this poster from 2020. But this poster isn't entirely reliable even if its official:-
  • The HMV shown is 8X8, not 6X6.
  • It says the launch angle is inclined but Prahaar has only ever been launched vertically during tests.
After the OG Prahaar there was Pragati mentioned in some poster in 2017:-

View attachment 173199

And then there was a missile tested in 2018:-

View attachment 173202

Obviously this missile tested in 2018 is very different from the OG Prahaar. But its not called Pragati or Pranash, the letters on the missile clearly read: Prahaar.

And then news of Pranash only came out in 2020 and it was stated that it'll be ready for testing in a couple of years and so Pranash is yet to fly. So we effectively have no idea what its finally going to be like. Specs put out so far are all over the place. Only thing consistent is the 8X8 Tatra HMV. Lets wait what configuration finally gets accepted.

Also your point about Chinese having heavier duty TELs, well that does have advantages but also has some downsides. PHL-16 weighs in at 45 tons. I'd imagine the IA Generals would be pretty annoyed if Pranash launcher ended up weighing as much all up. Anything on a Tatra 8X8 chassis would weigh upto 35 tons. So there are trade-offs to be made when trying to pack more missiles on one truck.
(sauce: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/mil...91-multiple-launch-rocket-system-casts-shadow )


Prahaar and Pralay at least have manuever capability like Shaurya and Sagarika which were both quasi-ballistic. Makes AD task a bit harder. But @gutenmorgen and @Indx TechStyle 's point of having more missiles on a launcher does make sense here as it gives one the ability to saturate enemy AD and thus get past it. Obviously the point I made about how that would result in a heavier TEL and how IA is always touchy about heavy vehicles does come into play here as well.
One would like a Missile to be cheaper as compared to the Sam intercepting it by a good margin, so a missile should be maneuverable enough so enemy don't use cheaper old gen Sam , but not so expensive that you are drilling a hole in pocket
 

Okabe Rintarou

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At one point whole point of MLRS was cheap enough to launch a terrifying salvo against area targets but now we are talking about pgm's and in excess of 150 km and shorad interceptions and so on. Do these really belong at the batallion level anymore or more theater/division level weapons? From the Ukraine war, it is still unclear but one terrifying weapon I noticed at tactical level is TOS....do we have anything similar on t-72 or arjun chassis?
So, from what you've found, it seems to me that they are at least testing chinese like configs (which may or may not have 300-350km like ranges). It may lack a few missiles per launcher when compared with the chinese ones.

These type of systems have different/more potential in the mountains, at least the guided ones. Again from a non-specialist perspective, I guess a mlrs heavy bombardment attack will be much more potent and will provide a huge advantage in the Himalayas, for both sides. By its very nature, the infra in those regions is quite constrictive. Imagine how vulnerable an army contingent is, moving through some of roads where you can't move anywhere but forward or backwards. And thats why they ll be properly protected in times of war.
If you can overwhelm the AD, you can deal a devastating damage to your adversary. But for that you need a system cheap, reliable and quick-reacting enough so that you can afford to fire even 2-3 rockets per enemy vehicle without blinking an eye.
A more costly TBM can probably go through the AD but the damage per missile will not be enough to be fired without thinking of consequences in monetary terms.
Here is one exhibit of how Grad performs in mildly hilly terrain. The fall of those rounds isn't nearly as uniform and the barrage is not nearly as effective as our imagination of what a grid square removal system would be capable of.:-


Ofcourse this problem will be magnified many-fold with long range vectors (even if guided) landing in Himalayan terrain where the defilade afforded by the ridges would shield a smart unit/detachment/formation.

There is a reason why Brahmos Block III with steep dive was created for the Himalayas and why more than Pinaka, Indian Army is more interested in MRPKS.

In mountains, even the headline CEP figure (of a long range guided missile) derived from testing in the plains and deserts would stretch out to ineffective numbers due to terrain. You miss the ridge by 5 meters and the round would fall down in the valley a couple km away. In some cases it will end up looking similar to the dispersion of the Grad's unguided rounds. So Chinese long range vectors are far from a silver bullet in Himalayas. Yet Chinese persist in these weapon systems because we aren't their only enemy. They can use these long range vectors to wreak havoc in Taiwan while standing in Mainland China. To them, that would be a more lucrative use of these systems than in the Himalayas.
 

omaebakabaka

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Here is one exhibit of how Grad performs in mildly hilly terrain. The fall of those rounds isn't nearly as uniform and the barrage is not nearly as effective as our imagination of what a grid square removal system would be capable of.:-


Ofcourse this problem will be magnified many-fold with long range vectors (even if guided) landing in Himalayan terrain where the defilade afforded by the ridges would shield a smart unit/detachment/formation.

There is a reason why Brahmos Block III with steep dive was created for the Himalayas and why more than Pinaka, Indian Army is more interested in MRPKS.

In mountains, even the headline CEP figure (of a long range guided missile) derived from testing in the plains and deserts would stretch out to ineffective numbers due to terrain. You miss the ridge by 5 meters and the round would fall down in the valley a couple km away. In some cases it will end up looking similar to the dispersion of the Grad's unguided rounds. So Chinese long range vectors are far from a silver bullet in Himalayas. Yet Chinese persist in these weapon systems because we aren't their only enemy. They can use these long range vectors to wreak havoc in Taiwan while standing in Mainland China. To them, that would be a more lucrative use of these systems than in the Himalayas.
Well, bombing in mountains will come with its own challenges even precision. US had to use massive MOAB type and serious bunker busters to take out some ragtags in the caves in Afghanistan....drones may fare better but overall its more of a strategy battle and employing right set of tools. Intelligence and Recon is key along with being mobile. We are invested in some of the less ideal non mobile platforms in arty but I trust IA in strategy and expect intel to suck. Airforce is also not looking like a game changer when mobile AD is prevalent. This current war is showing some surprizes and the US wars are mostly against less than capable opponents, so it is not necessarily going to be any better survival. Either way we need more MLRS and lighter ones too that can be jimmied onto commercial trucks if necessary,.
 

Okabe Rintarou

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Well, bombing in mountains will come with its own challenges even precision. US had to use massive MOAB type and serious bunker busters to take out some ragtags in the caves in Afghanistan....drones may fare better but overall its more of a strategy battle and employing right set of tools. Intelligence and Recon is key along with being mobile. We are invested in some of the less ideal non mobile platforms in arty but I trust IA in strategy and expect intel to suck. Airforce is also not looking like a game changer when mobile AD is prevalent. This current war is showing some surprizes and the US wars are mostly against less than capable opponents, so it is not necessarily going to be any better survival.
Agree with this.

Either way we need more MLRS and lighter ones too that can be jimmied onto commercial trucks if necessary,.
Instead of tactical light weight MLRS, better to go for heavy automatic mortars. Mortars are suited to mountain warfare much more than MLRS due to steep angle of firing. Moreover, even a 120mm mortar has the same lethal radius to a 155mm artillery round. Imagine 120mm or heck even 180mm mortars on motorized platforms.
Another idea better than MLRS at tactical ranges is the MRPKS, which IA is already pursuing.
 

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