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    Precision Guided Munition (PGM): Indian success story

    Way back in 1933, Winston Churchill had said: "… not to have adequate air force in the present state of the world is to compromise the foundations of national freedom and independence." At that time, the concept of aerial bombing in the enemy territory where it was difficult for the army to reach, was a revolutionary military concept. With the passage of time and advancement of military technology, both the aircrafts and bombs (munitions) used by the aircrafts have developed manifold. In this small write-up, we will discuss the development of Precision Guided Munitions (PGM) and recent Indian success story in this area.

    Many of us would distinctly remember that during the Kargil war with Pakistan in May-July 1999, India felt very acutely the need for air-delivered precision guided munitions. Freefall bombs used by the Indian Air Force (IAF), would fall all over the mountain ranges. These bombs delivered by the IAF could not effectively destroy the sanghars (stone embankments) occupied by the soldiers of the Pakistan Army's Northern Light Infantry. Ultimately, Indian Army had to use different artillery guns including the very high-calibre Bofors guns to destroy these sangars. Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers were also used freely. It is estimated that a total of 2,50,000 tons of artillery shell was used during the Kargil war.

    This deficiency was noted by Indian defence experts and scientists of DRDO and other defence research bodies. India started developing its own PGM. With a wide-ranging research, Indian scientists could develop laser-guided precision munitions in India. These weapon systems have been developed in such a manner to enable use from land, sea and air. India also purchased laser-guided munitions from at least two foreign countries and handed them over to the armed forces.

    Not only laser-guided munitions, Indian scientists have developed GPS-based munitions which are bunker-busters. The marriage of laser-guided bombs and GPS-based munitions has helped the product to be successful to hit the targets even in inclement weather. Not only that, the chances of collateral damage have now become minimal.

    This modern technology was used by the IAF when it hit Balakot inside Pakistan on 26th February 2019. Without any collateral damage, the most modern aircrafts of India hit at least three structures occupied by the terrorists and the bunker-busters destroyed these structures completely. It is assumed that not even a single person inside these structures survived the hits. Further, the use of most modern aircraft ensured that the aircrafts remained in the enemy territory for the minimum time and effectively avoided enemy's radar system.

    We, the proud Indians, now hope that Indian scientists will continue developing PGM in near and distant future and the Indian armed forces will write more success stories with the PGM.

    [Note: The information used in this write-up is available on Internet. Those who want to know more about the strike, may watch various interviews given by ACM BS Dhanoa (Retd.) available on YouTube.]

    (Competition entry: Topic based Thread of the Week contest)
  • #767371
    Happy to see a nice piece from Partha after a good gap of time.
    I am one who has some academic interest in science and technology. Precision Guided Missiles was a talk among defence strategists. Now there are much more such ammunitions in the arsenal of most countries and thus we call them now as Precision Guided Muntion.
    Each generation is becoming more and more precise and accurate. The error margins are becoming less and les, so much so that it is now possible to target and hit a specified object on earth even from a very high altitude very precisely and accurately without causing any other peripheral damage.

    Being an India, I am happy about our county's achievements in this regard, as it is not easy to get the information and much support from others, and we have to be self dependent and self sufficient in our research and technology. Many dedicated people of our country are doing precisely that sincerely.

  • #767385
    Indian Missile development programme has gone to new heights. Our Ex-President Dr Kalamji is the person who is instrumental in this success story. Of course, many other Scientists followed his footsteps and even today many programmes are in progress. The accuracy and precision of these missiles are very important and any deviation may create havoc. So many Scientists work day and night and see that the systems developed by them are failproof and under any condition, there will not be any deviation.
    Having some experience in the manufacture of these free-fall bombs and being associated with some defence establishments I take pride in saying that the Indian defence research organisation is doing an excellent piece of work in this direction. I think in the coming days we will much more development along these lines and many countries are looking to us for our guidance to them in these activities. This is a good write-up from the author that too after a long time. Hope he will become active again on this site.

    always confident

  • #767389
    An informative write up by Partha about the Precision Guided Munitions that our country has been equipping itself with lately that too indigenously. It was only yesterday that I along with my friends (colleagues) were discussing about the precision guided missiles used by the Indian Airforce. One of my colleagues, who earlier worked in the Airforce in the Pechora SAM III (Surface to Air) missiles squadron, has recently made replica models of those missiles for the purpose of display. He explained in detail how the missiles worked and how they used radio command guidance to home into a target (enemy aircraft). It was quite an interesting talk, as our friend explained how an enemy aircraft is tracked by different radars from a distance of 200-250 kms itself. The missile is fired when the enemy aircraft is at a distance of 17-18 km. For the first 2-3 sec the missile flies unguided. The solid fuel booster stage then falls off from the missile, which is then guided forward and locks with the target. The missile then zeroes in and explodes just before it strikes the target. It takes not more than 49 seconds for the missile to fire and destroy its target. In case of a miss-hit, the missile self-destructs itself in mid-air. For greater success, two missiles are fired one after the other.

    The discussion then wavered to aircrafts and how the Airforce uses Precision Approach Radars (PAR) for their fighter aircrafts to approach an airfield and land safely. There were also discussions on Instrument Landing System (ILS), a precision landing aid every modern aircraft these days uses, so as not to hamper flights, irrespective of visibility. Attached please find a pic of the replicas of the SAM-III Pechora missiles made by my friend.

    Patience and perseverance pays

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