A repeat tender for Pinaka rocket launchers appears to be in the offing with the Defence Ministry looking to buy six regiments — one regiment is 18 systems — of the home-made weapon system. Touted as one of the first ‘create in India’ product, the Pinaka is designed and developed by two private companies, the Tatas and Larsen and Toubro (L&T), in association with the Armament Research and Development Establishment of the DRDO.
Confirming the development, and the private entities’ wait for the Request for Proposal (RFP), Jayant Patil, Senior Vice-President and Head-Defence and Aerospace, L&T, told BusinessLine, “We expect the commercial RFP for the next six regiments to be issued within the coming few weeks. Thereafter, contracting is likely to be completed during FY18.”Prime contract
Tata Power’s Strategic Engineering Division (SED) was one of the two private companies to be awarded the prime contract by the Defence Ministry way back in 2006. Several technological advances have taken place since. “At present, one regiment of Pinaka (20 launchers) supplied by Tata Power SED are in service with the Indian Army,” Rahul Chaudhry, CEO, Tata Power SED, told BusinessLine.
Last December, Tata Power SED received an order from the Defence Ministry for the supply of one regiment of Command Post and Launcher of Pinaka Multi Rocket Launcher System to the Indian Army. The 200 crore order included supply of 20 launchers and eight command posts.
Pinaka supplements the existing artillery gun at ranges beyond 30 km, and has a quick reaction time and high rate of fire. It was designed to replace the BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher systems of the Indian Army.
A multifaceted system, the Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) grants the Pinaka concentrated firepower to destroy enemy targets. The Pinaka is also proving to be a test-bed for the fruitful partnerships that can be developed between the government and the private sector to address challenges and to collaborate and bring on indigenous innovation, as well as provide frameworks for working together.
Speaking to BusinessLine about the recent strategic partnership policy announcements, Chaudhry termed it the “government’s empathetic announcement that private sector participation in defence is the new normal in this sector.”
Sources added that “though the army has inducted Pinaka Mark-I, it is an unguided area weapon. Mark-II is in the trial phase. There are major differences between the two. Mark-II is guided and the range has been extended. The rocket propellant has been redesigned and can be fixed on to the same barrel, so one does not have to change barrels and can fire simultaneously. Mark-I can fire at 35 km, now this has been extended to 55 km.”
Speaking of the advanced Pinaka, DRDO sources said, the “System on-board accuracy has been increased. The extra aerodynamics would help destroy the same area with fewer rockets, leading to less damage.”