Indian Army artillery to get more Pinaka missile regiments

The Indian government has signed contracts worth Rs 2,580 crore to supply six Army regiments with Pinaka missiles. The contracts have been signed with Tata Power Company and Larsen & Toubro (L&T) with Public Sector Undertaking Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML) also part of the project, The Indian Express reports.
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The Pinaka 214 MM Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher System passes through the Rajpath during the full dress rehearsal for the Republic Day Parade-2011, in New Delhi on January 23, 2011 (Picture source: Indian MoD)

“Providing further boost to the ‘Make in India’ initiative of Government of India in the Defence Sector, Acquisition Wing of Ministry of Defence (MoD) has today signed contracts with M/s. Bharat Earth Movers Ltd. (BEML), M/s. Tata Power Company Ltd. (TPCL) and M/s. Larsen & Toubro (L&T) for supply of six Pinaka Regiments to the Artillery of the Indian Army at an approximate cost of Rs 2580 Crores,” a statement by the ministry said.

The ministry said that it will be done under the Buy-Indian category with 70 percent indigenous content, and the project was approved by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The statement said that the six Pinaka regiments “comprise 114 Launchers with Automated Gun Aiming & Positioning System (AGAPS) and 45 Command Posts to be procured from M/s TPCL and M/s L&T and 330 Vehicles to be procured from M/s BEML” and will be “operationalised along the Northern and Eastern Borders of our country further enhancing the operation preparedness of our Armed Forces”. The induction of these six regiments is planned by 2024.

Pinaka is a multiple rocket launcher produced in India and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Army. The Tata Group and L&T had bagged the first order to produce the Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher back in 2006.

The system has a maximum range of 40 km for Mark-I and 75 km for Mark-II, and can fire a salvo of 12 HE rockets in 44 seconds. In 2019, an upgraded guided missile version of the system was test-fired, with a range of over 90 km. The system is mounted on a Tatra truck for mobility.

Pinaka is a complete MBRL system. Each Pinaka battery consists of six launcher vehicles, each with 12 rockets; six loader-replenishment vehicles; three replenishment vehicles; two Command Post vehicle (one stand by) with a Fire Control computer, and the DIGICORA MET radar. A battery of six launchers can neutralise an area of 1,000 m × 800 meters.

The Army generally deploys a battery that has a total of 72 rockets. All of the 72 rockets can be fired in 44 seconds, taking out an area of 1 km2. Each launcher can fire in a different direction too. The system has the flexibility to fire all the rockets in one go or only a few. This is made possible with a fire control computer. There is a command post linking together all the six launchers in a battery. Each launcher has an individual computer which enables it to function autonomously in case it gets separated from the other five vehicles in a war.

Pinaka saw service during the Kargil War, where it was successful in neutralising enemy positions on the mountain tops. It has since been inducted into the Indian Army in large numbers.