Sunday, July 26, 2009

India update

We have not had an entry on India in the recent time. So let’s see how things developed at the subcontinent.

Back in June the Times of India reported that after basing Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets in the North-East, India is now all set to conduct another test of the 3,500-km-range Agni-III ballistic missile towards the end of this month. So let’s see whether India will stick to its schedule or there are again some turtles causing a delay. Once fully-ready by 2011-2012, the Agni-III will provide India with the capability to strike deep into China, with cities like Shanghai and Beijing well within its potent reach.

In the same Times of India article the success of the latest test-launch of the Agni-II was called into question: the trial "failed to meet the laid-down flight parameters''.

Over at they reported on India’s rapid progress on its indigenous missile defense program. In light of speculations that weapon testing could be completed by 2010 they conclude that the defensive program seriously outstrips India's development of an offensive ballistic missile force.

In addition to speed, India's program shows signs of significant sophistication, especially compared to her possible regional adversaries. A case in point is China. While China's offensive ballistic missile program is more advanced than India's, it does not possess a comparable BMD capability. China's surface-to-air missiles could intercept ballistic missiles, but only up to an altitude of 30km. Furthermore, it is thought that China's BMD program falls far behind India's in the area of research and development, particularly in the area of software development and programming, key and indispensable components of any functional missile defense system.
However, India seems not to rest on its laurels. New Delhi intends to develop defenses capable of intercepting longer-range enemy missiles with ranges as high as 6,000 km. This would triple the current capability. Back in March India succeeded in countering a 2,000-km range missile at an altitude of 80 km.

Let’s shift to missiles that are intended to hit targets that are not that far away: two decades after the homegrown Nag anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) was conceived, it has been cleared for production. The Indian Army ordered 4,000 Nags. With a current annual output of 200 and eventually 400 Nags, it will take the state-owned Bharat Dynamics, which produces these missiles, some time to deliver. The DRDO scientist said focus will now shift to the helicopter version, the Helina, which will have an extended range of seven kilometers (other sources mentioned a range of eight kilometers). DRDO scientists stated that the land version also eventually will have a range of seven kilometers.

Picture © Indianarmpics

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