DRDO Pinaka Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher: In a significant development which will reduce Indian Army’s dependence on India’s state owned Ordnance Factory Board factories, first ever Pinaka rockets manufactured by private defence companies have been successfully test fired by Indian Army.
The Pinaka rockets were tested at a firing range in Pokharan on August 19 and achieved the desired results by accurately hitting targets.
The rockets have been manufactured by the private sector after a technology transfer agreement with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
According to people familiar with the matters, 6 Pinaka rockets were test fired as part of the final developmental trials.
DRDO Pinaka fires rocket produced in private sector
The rockets have been manufactured by Economic Explosives Ltd (EEL) and are the first munitions of its kind made by a private sector defence manufacturer in India. EEL is a subsidiary of Nagpur based Solar Industries India Limited (Solar Group).
It is also a success story for the DRDO that has been engaging with the private sector to transfer manufacturing technology for home developed systems.
In the past, munitions of this class have either been imported or have been manufactured by the public sector, with repeated complaints of failure by the armed forces.
As part of the Make in India drive and push for the private sector in defence manufacturing, the Pinaka technology was transferred five years ago, with a decision taken to split further orders evenly with OFB.
The Army has a large requirement for rockets of this class, which is pegged at over 1,000 units annually.
DRDO’s Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher system
The Pinaka is an indigenously designed and developed multi barrel rocket launcher system that is already in service with the Indian Army. An order for two additional Pinaka regiments has been under process since 2017, which will be made by L&T and Tata Aerospace and Defence for an estimated Rs 4,500 crore.
The armed forces have been looking at creating alternate sources for munitions to reduce dependency on OFB that has had a mixed track record.
According to industry sources, privately manufactured munitions of different variety would cost 20-30 per cent cheaper than the OFB fixed pricing.
DRDO has also successfully tested an extended range guided Pinaka rocket that can hit targets at a distance of 75 kilometers, a significant boost from the current range of 40 kilometers.
There is a plan to extend the range of Pinaka rockets to over 100 kilometers.