October 24, 2011

Agni-III could be modified for use as anti-satellite weapon, says DRDO chief

An anti-satellite missile that can put in the leaage of countries like the US and China is feasible with Agni III intergrated with a satellite kill vehicle, according to DRDO Chief and Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister V K Saraswat. Delivering a lecture on ‘DRDO, the Challenges Ahead’ at Air Marshal Y V Malse Memorial Lecture at the University of Pune, Saraswat said, “Developing such a missile is feasible if Agni III and BMD (ballistic Missile Defence) kill vehicle are integrated. The effective range, which is about 1400-1500 km, is sufficient to engage a satellite.”
Air Chief Marshal (Retd) P V Naik and Air Marshal (Retd) Bhushan Gokhale were also present on the occasion.
India has been reportedly developing an exo-atmospheric kill vehicle that can be integrated with the missile to engage satellites. Only the US, Russia and China have developed such anti-satellite weapon. 
During the 90-minute lecture, Saraswat touched upon a number of issues pertaining to DRDO and defence production in general. After the failure of Kaveri engine for India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, which is fitted with GE 404/ 414 engines, Saraswat said there was the need to start yet another programme for development of a new engine for the ongoing Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA). “While upgrade of Kaveri engine can continue, a new engine with variable cycle can be developed for AMCA,” he said, adding, “If we as nation are able to operationalise AMCA by 2030, we will be doing fairly good as far as IAF aircraft inventory is concerned.”
AMCA, being developed by HAL, is expected to fit between MMRCA and LCA. “Advanced integrated controls, reduced infrared signatures, advanced avionics, stealth materials such as radar absorbing paint, advanced composites and hypersonic materials are some areas that need further development. Further, production facilities at HAL also need to go hand in hand for which an upgrade is required at HAL,” he said.
He also spoke about a number of futuristic developments required in the era of cyber/ network centric warfare. “The idea of solar powered aircraft should have occurred to us. The development of such aircraft has certain challenges like development of avionic sensors, energy consumption-to-collection ratio, geographic areas of operation, weather and so on,” he said.
Pressing for a cyber command, Saraswat said a lot needs to be done on combating Nuclear Biological Chemical (NBC) warfare, Low Intensity Conflict (LIC), Information Security, composites and so on. “Time has come to introduce a programme for aerostats,” he said adding, “An investment of Rs 300 crore per year is needed if we have to be self-reliant.”
“Five to 10 per cent of the budget needs to be invested in SMEs, 25 per cent in medium scale industries and academia. Major investment needs to be done with bigger players in order to move towards indigenisation.”

Indian Express

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