The Indian Army which is now operating two regiments of the indigenously-developed truck-mounted Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher (MBRL) systems, is eyeing to induct another eight by 2022.
The army is looking at raising the number to 22 within a decade to add firepower to its artillery, an official was quoted as saying by First Post Wednesday.
The Pinaka system is designed and developed by two private entities, the Tatas and Larsen and Toubro (L&T), in association with Armament Research and Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The Indian Army has plans to induct 22 regiments overall and this is likely to be in a timeframe of a decade plus, Jayant D. Patil, Senior Vice President & Head of Defence & Aerospace L&T said.
In September, the Cabinet Committe on Security (CCS) cleared the raising of the third and fourth Pinaka regiments at a cost of over Rs 3,000 crore ($441 million), he added. Further, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) last month cleared a RFP (Request for Proposal) for six additional regiments at a cost of Rs 14,633 crore (US$21.7 billion).
Each regiment consists of three batteries of six Pinaka launchers, each capable of launching 12 rockets with a range of 40 km in a space of 44 seconds, in addition to support vehicles, radar and a command post. The rockets in the 12 additional regiments will have an extended range of 70 km and are currently in the development process.
"Currently, contract signing for two regiments (negotiations for which concluded in January 2011) is under way and is likely to take place soon. The RFP may detail the distribution of systems for the next six regiments." he said speaking on the distribution of the new regiments between Tata Power Strategic Electronic Division (SED) and L&T, Patil said.
On Monday, Tata Power SED received an order worth over Rs 200 crore for 20 launchers and eight command posts. "Going by earlier precedence, the RFP is likely within the next few weeks. Thereafter, contracting is likely to be completed in about six months," Patil said.
As for the extended-range version of the rocket system that L&T is developing, "the requirement for Pinaka systems by the user is going to continue for over 15 years. As designers, and with the modularity in our design, we have catered for addressing obsolescence challenges." he said.
"Systems designed by us have built-in factors of safety; the physical interface aspects have been addressed, and we do not envisage any major challenges in releasing the rockets with extended range," he added.
Speaking on the extended version, Rahul Chaudhry, CEO - Tata Power SED, said, “as part of our preparations, we have the necessary design, development and manufacturing capabilities in Mumbai and our existing production facility in Bangalore (Bengaluru).”
"In addition, we are currently making a significant investment in Vemagal (near Bengaluru) for a defence manufacturing unit which will be operational soon and will be able to roll out Pinakas to meet any requirements of the army," Chaudhry added.