Indigenously designed and developed guided bombs Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) were successfully flight tested from IAF aircraft at Chandan range while indigenously developed Helicopter launched Anti-Tank Guided Missile “HELINA” has been successfully flight tested from Army Helicopter at 1400 hours in the range of Pokhran.
SMART ANTI AIRFIELD WEAPON (SAAW):
- Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) was developed by the Research Centre Imarat (RCI) and other DRDO laboratories in collaboration with the Indian Air Force (IAF).
- It is a precision-guided glide bomb specialized at making runways and airfields unsuitable for take-off and landing operations.
- The system weighs about 120 kg and has a range of around 100 km. It has been designed to achieve a high degree of precision, which is usually very difficult to achieve operationally with simple gravity bombs.
- The SAAW project was approved by the Central Government in 2013 and the first successful test of the weapon was conducted in May 2016.
UNDERSTANDING ANTI-AIRFIELD WEAPONS
- Anti-airfield weapons are critical in war-like scenarios since they can help give a debilitating blow to adversarial air forces.
- The high-explosive warheads are meant to cause maximum damage possible to runways and other infrastructure, in a way that prevents quick repair.
- If successful, the attack using such bombs would render an airfield useless, grounding all the warplanes that are based at that airfield.
SUCCESSFUL FLIGHT TEST
- The weapon system was integrated with a live warhead and has destroyed the targets with high precision.
- The telemetry and tracking systems captured all the mission events.
- This weapon is capable of destroying a variety of ground targets using precision navigation.
- A total of three tests with different release conditions were conducted from 16 to 18 August 2018 and all the mission objectives have been achieved.
- The weapon has undergone eight developmental trials till date and performance of the system for different ranges under multiple launch conditions has been demonstrated.
- HELINA stands for Helicopter-launched Nag, and it is a variant of the land-launched Nag anti-tank guided missile. It has a range of 7 to 8 km.
- It is designed to be launched from the helicopters operated by the Indian Army Aviation Corps and from the HAL Light Combat Helicopter, the HAL Dhruv and its armed variant, HAL Rudra.
- The Nag missiles, and subsequently HELINA, are “fire-and-forget” missiles. They are top-attack missiles, meaning they will fly over the target and make contact from above.
- This is especially key functionality for anti-tank weapons, considering most tanks and armoured vehicles are heavily armoured on all the sides and featured relatively shielding on their tops.
- HELINA has been tested for its full range.
- The ‘HELINA’ weapon system released smoothly from the launch platform has tracked the target all through its course and hit the target with high precision.
- All the parameters have been monitored by the telemetry stations, tracking systems and the Helicopters.
- The Missile is guided by an Infrared Imaging Seeker (IIR) operating in the Lock on Before Launch mode. It is one of the most advanced Anti-Tank Weapons in the world.
- Cheap and specialized : SAAW is India’s attempt at building an indigenous weapon for the specialized operation. These precision-guided glide bombs are cheaper than conventional missiles since they do not have the complex propulsion systems that are the norm for cruise missiles.
- Enhancing the capacity of Indian forces: Depending on the operational requirements, these missiles could also be used against other ground targets to give Indian forces enhanced area-denial capabilities such as taking out bridges or other ground infrastructure.
While SAAW is being developed for the IAF, the HELINA missile will be a part of the Indian Army’s weaponry. Both SAAW and HELINA developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), are among the most advanced weapons systems in the world. The weapon systems will further strengthen the country’s defense capabilities. The Indian Army is all set to get the third-generation Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) Nag missiles from 2019 and the full-fledged production of this missile will start from the first half of 2019.