Pokhran Current Affairs
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully tested indigenously developed light weight glide bomb Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) dropped from an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft. Total of three tests with different release conditions and ranges were conducted at Chandan range near Pokhran in Rajasthan.
Test Details: Total of three tests with eighth round of developmental trails with different release conditions were conducted during 16 to 18 August 2018 and all the mission objectives have been achieved. During the test, weapon system was integrated with live warhead. It successfully destroyed targets with high precision.
Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW)
SAAW project is India’s first fully indigenous anti-airfield weapon project sanctioned by Government in September 2013. It was indigenously developed by state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in collaboration with IAF and the Research Centre Imarat (RCI). It will be inducted soon into the Armed Forces.
SAAW is long-range lightweight high precision-guided anti-airfield weapon. It is 120 kg smart weapon capable of engaging ground targets with high precision up to range of 100 km. It is designed for deep penetration with high degree of precision and is armed with high-explosive warhead, which is usually very difficult to achieve operationally with simple gravity bombs.
It is meant to deal debilitating damage to ground infrastructure such as runways, taxi ways, aircraft hangars and bunkers among other things. Depending on operational requirements, it can also be used against other ground targets to give Indian forces enhanced area-denial capabilities, like taking out ground infrastructure.
The guided bomb is considered to be one of the world-class weapons system. It is said to have higher precision and much cheaper compared with missiles. It can be integrated into varied types of multi role fighter jets of IAF such as MiG, Sukhoi Su-30 and ground attack SEPECAT Jaguar. SAAW’s deep penetration capabilities and high explosive warhead carrying capacity will enhance capability of IAF to easily hit targets across border without putting pilot and aircraft at risk.
They are critical in war-like scenarios, since they help to give debilitating blow to adversarial air forces. These high-explosive warheads are meant to cause maximum damage possible to runways and other key infrastructure, in way that prevents quick repair. If successful, attack using such bombs render airfield useless, grounding all the war planes that are based at that air field.
Joint investigation committee (JIC) comprising US and Indian officials has test-fired M777 ultra-light howitzers (ULH) at Pokhran firing range in Rajasthan. The team will review results of this test soon. The test was conducted in the wake of accident during its trial in September 2017.
In November 2016, India signed Rs 5,070-crore deal with US to procure 145 M777 ULH for deployment on mountainous terrain in northern and eastern borders. It was first such induction of artillery guns since Swedish Bofors guns in late-1980s, which got embroiled in political controversy.
As part of deal, two M777 ULHs were brought to India May 2017 for field firing with Indian ammunition to compile firing tables that provide data such as range and elevation. But during September 2017 trial firing, the projectile had bursted in barrel of howitzers. After accident, two sides had formed joint team to examine issue.
M777 Ultra-Light Howitzers (ULH) artillery Guns
It is manufactured by BAE Systems’ Global Combat Systems division. It is smaller and lighter. It weighs 4,100 kg and can be easily transported by helicopters. It has effective firing range of 24 km.
Under India-US M777 deal, 25 ULHs will be inducted directly with rest to be assembled at BAE Systems facility in Maharashtra in partnership with Mahindra Group. The delivery is to be completed by 2021.
Indian Army is going to deploy these artillery guns in high-altitude areas in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, bordering China. Its induction will give Indian defence forces a much needed operational advantage and an access to state of art technology.