After nearly 20 years into development, indigenously developed Pinaka rocket system failed to meet mission parameters during a trial from Chandipur base on Wednesday, putting the reliability on the weaponry system at a stake.
Sources said two rounds of an advanced version of Pinaka rocket were test-fired from a multi-barrel rocket launcher (MBRL) positioned in the testing range of Proof and Experimental Establishment (PXE) between 11 am and 12 noon.
Both the rockets failed to provide the desired result as expected by the mission team. “The experimental trials were carried out by the DRDO. The rockets could not cover the designed distance and some of their sub-systems too did not function properly. Further analysis was on,” the sources said.
Wednesday’s tests were conducted by personnel of Pune-based Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) at the PXE firing point-2. Pinaka rocket system, which has already undergone several tough tests since 1995 and inducted in the armed forces, has been drawing criticism for over a decade for its poor show during the Kargil war.
The tests were, however, conducted nearly two weeks after similar trials of the Pinaka Mark-II Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher System from Chandhan area in Pokhran field firing ranges of Rajasthan, which were stated as ‘successful’ by the DRDO. The trials were conducted by the DRDO and Indian Army.
Contacted, a DRDO official neither confirmed the ‘failure’ nor did he deny it. He, however, said data on the trials could not be collected due to bad weather. “The trials were conducted for a longer range than its previous trails. The inclement weather came as a hindrance for retrieving data,” he said.
Describing the tests as routine, he said earlier this year, 10 rounds of Pinaka rockets were tested from the same base on January 30 and 31, and February 28. “The developmental trials of the advanced system will continue and the rocket is expected to be pressed into service very soon,” he added.
While the older version of the rocket system has a strike range of 40 km, its advanced version can strike a target beyond 55 km and is capable of acting as a force-multiplier. It has been developed to supplement artillery guns. The system can be operated in four modes __ autonomous, stand-alone mode, remote and manual.