Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

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srai
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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby srai » 20 Sep 2019 14:24

Aditya_V wrote:Does that mean, that as long as the mission computer of the Aircraft can communicate via the APU-73 launcher to the missile it is compatible with the Astra. So then, LCA Tejas, MIg-29, M-2000 and possibly even Mig 21 Bision can be integrated with Astra relatively quickly?



^^^
Weapon integration is a time consuming exercise. It’s a marriage of many components like pylon interface, radars, avionics and computers, along with aerodynamics of carriage, flight envelopes, firing test points, etc. It takes months of planning and simulations to conduct one test point.

Easily 3-to-5-year effort per platform.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby JayS » 20 Sep 2019 16:20

^^That's what I had in my mind when I asked the question.

I don't think bison will see Astra now. They are due for retirement in near future and we have good stock of Ruski missiles now. Not worth the efforts.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Khalsa » 20 Sep 2019 17:47

Gurus
what are the current missile types certified for use on the LCA Tejas Mk1 and Mk1a please

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby naird » 20 Sep 2019 20:36

Khalsa wrote:Gurus
what are the current missile types certified for use on the LCA Tejas Mk1 and Mk1a please


Derby , R73 and R77

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby titash » 20 Sep 2019 21:29

naird wrote:
Khalsa wrote:Gurus
what are the current missile types certified for use on the LCA Tejas Mk1 and Mk1a please


Derby , R73 and R77


Tejas has not carried/fired a single R-77 till date. Derby & R-73 onlee. Python-5 was carried and dropped due to flutter issues. Astra/ASRAAM also speculation till date.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Karan M » 20 Sep 2019 22:04

tsarkar wrote:
JayS wrote:Interesting. Which launcher R77 uses then?

Karan M wrote:I am fairly certain the Astra uses the AKU-170E launcher used by the R-77.



Thanks, pretty surprising though. The APU-173 is used to carry a missile which is almost 70 kgs lighter, and we have the Astra on it. :-?

Of course, they would have done due diligence, but still surprising. On the + side, it means at least some of the work to adapt Astra to Mirage 2000, LCA apart from the MiG-29 is already done & dusted. Quick(er) deployment if we buy it in bulk. I presume this was the reason to test out the APU-173 for the task.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby ramana » 21 Sep 2019 01:09

Do we have any sketches of the two launchers? Any specs?

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby abhik » 21 Sep 2019 13:39

So, APU-173 is rail launcher (evident from the videos) while APU-173 AKU-170E "drops" the missile right?

Edited.
Last edited by abhik on 21 Sep 2019 14:22, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby JTull » 21 Sep 2019 13:57

abhik wrote:So, APU-173 is rail launcher (evident from the videos) while APU-173 "drops" the missile right?


:eek:

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby VikramA » 27 Sep 2019 09:08

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbdeCujiiz4 don't know if its posted here before but found a 1 year old barak 8 promotional video from IAI. it talks about 3 types of interceptor .
1>BARAK MRAD-30 KM range( i think this might be akash 2 which is supposed to be canister launched)
2> BARAK LRAD-70 Km range
3> BARAK ER- 150 km RANGE( it says can intercept BM)

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Karan M » 27 Sep 2019 10:57

Akash2 is an inhouse program, its not Barak related and is 50km in range.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby VikramA » 27 Sep 2019 11:06

There is not much public info available on akash 2 to conclude that it did not benefit from barak 8's R&D. What we do know is that it is radically different from akash 1,1S. i.e canister launched and dual seeker. There might be a chance that like there is an agreement between Israel and india to jointly fund and develop barak 8, there might be an agreement to allow Israel's IAI to market the akash 2 as Barak MRAD, a SRSAM component of complete (short range, medium range, long range)Barak 8 Air defense system for export market and I don't see why india would object because if barak 8 is exported, India too will get work share and profit from it
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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Karan M » 27 Sep 2019 11:35

Are you going by internet accounts re: Akash? MOD AR 2016-17 clearly mentions it will have a RF seeker. It is clearly not a SRSAM and why would anyone put a 50km missile as a SRSAM component of a missile system wherein the next unit is 70-90km.

MOD AR2016-17:
DRDO has also undertaken two new projects of Akash this year, Akash New Generation (Akash-NG) has been conceptualized with solid propulsion, wing-body-tail configuration, electro-mechanical control system, active RF seeker and laser proximity fuze. The system will be capable of search, track and fire while engaging 10 targets at ranges up to 50 km with configuration of CCU, multi function radar (MFR) and launcher for air defence of VA/VPs.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Vips » 29 Sep 2019 04:13

15 years on, DRDO’s supersonic missile ready for IAF.

India’s first indigenous beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) for fighters, Astra, is now finally ready for induction after 15 tortuous years of development, with the DRDO expecting the IAF to initially order at least 200 missiles for its Sukhoi-30MKI jets.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation is also already working to increase Astra’s strike range from the existing 110-km to over 160-km. “Astra is one of the best BVRAAMs in the world today. We have the capability to develop it for longer ranges,” said DRDO chief Dr G
Satheesh Reddy, talking to TOI.

India has joined a handful of countries like US, Russia, France and Israel in developing such advanced air combat missiles that can destroy highly-agile enemy supersonic fighters packed with “counter-measures’’ at long ranges, say officials.

The importance of having deadly air-to-air missiles was underscored during the skirmish between Indian and Pakistani fighters along the Line of Control on February 27, a day after IAF jets bombed the JeM facility at Balakot.

The sleek 3.57-metre long Astra, with a mass weight of 154-kg, flies over four times the speed of sound at Mach 4.5. To be produced by defence PSU Bharat Dynamics for about Rs 7-8 crore per unit, Astra will be a much cheaper indigenous alternative to some of the expensive Russian, French and Israeli BVRAAMs currently imported to arm IAF fighters.

After the Russian-origin Sukhois, the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft will also be equipped with the all-weather Astra. The missile, which is capable of handling multi-target scenarios, has “state-of-the-art ECCM (electronic counter-counter measures) to tackle jamming by hostile aircraft, active radar terminal guidance and “highly accurate complex end-game algorithms for high single-shot kill probability” in both head-on and tail-chase modes.

The DRDO is all gung-ho after it conducted five successful trials of the Astra from Sukhoi fighters against Jet Banshee target aircraft or UAVs, simulating all possible threat scenarios, off the Chandipur coast in Odisha last week.

“The targets were hit at distances of 80 to 86-km with pinpoint accuracy. The technologies developed under the programme will be the building blocks for developing future variants of air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles,” said an official.

India may have developed long-range nuclear missiles like the Agni-V, which has a strike range over 5,000-km, but had faltered in building BVRAAMs till now. Astra suffered from several technical glitches like a defective aerodynamic configuration since the missile project was first sanctioned in March 2004 at an initial cost of Rs 955 crore.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Karan M » 29 Sep 2019 04:23

Pandit the great:
India’s first indigenous beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) for fighters, Astra, is now finally ready for induction after 15 tortuous years of development, with the DRDO expecting the IAF to initially order at least 200 missiles for its Sukhoi-30MKI jets.


The Mica took 14 years of development before it entered service..

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby SaiK » 29 Sep 2019 08:04

Astra suffered from several technical glitches like a defective aerodynamic configuration since the missile project was first sanctioned in March 2004 at an initial cost of Rs 955 crore.


can someone list what were these?


PS: hate such ending in oped dork media

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Jay » 29 Sep 2019 08:12

Karan M wrote:Pandit the great:


Rajat Pandit, and Manu Pubby and two of the worst 'mouth breathers' to have plopped in the indian journalistic landscape that report on defense news. Absolutely pathetic reporting with an even more gutter attitude.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby srai » 29 Sep 2019 10:13

SaiK wrote:
Astra suffered from several technical glitches like a defective aerodynamic configuration since the missile project was first sanctioned in March 2004 at an initial cost of Rs 955 crore.


can someone list what were these?


PS: hate such ending in oped dork media

Probably referring to this design change:
Image
Image

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Karan M » 29 Sep 2019 11:21

Jay wrote:
Karan M wrote:Pandit the great:


Rajat Pandit, and Manu Pubby and two of the worst 'mouth breathers' to have plopped in the indian journalistic landscape that report on defense news. Absolutely pathetic reporting with an even more gutter attitude.


Agree, their attitude is horrible.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Karan M » 29 Sep 2019 11:31

Vips wrote:India’s first indigenous beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) for fighters, Astra, is now finally ready for induction after 15 tortuous years of development, with the DRDO expecting the IAF to initially order at least 200 missiles for its Sukhoi-30MKI jets.


Disappointing, we should be at least ordering a thousand units to build up decent stocks for our Su-30s, at 4 missiles per fighter. Given the high rate of usage in any conflict, these should be the minimum holdings for a RVV-AE replacement.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation is also already working to increase Astra’s strike range from the existing 110-km to over 160-km. “Astra is one of the best BVRAAMs in the world today. We have the capability to develop it for longer ranges,” said DRDO chief Dr G Satheesh Reddy, talking to TOI.


Basically, AMRAAM-D class.

India has joined a handful of countries like US, Russia, France and Israel in developing such advanced air combat missiles that can destroy highly-agile enemy supersonic fighters packed with “counter-measures’’ at long ranges, say officials.

After the Russian-origin Sukhois, the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft will also be equipped with the all-weather Astra. The missile, which is capable of handling multi-target scenarios, has “state-of-the-art ECCM (electronic counter-counter measures) to tackle jamming by hostile aircraft, active radar terminal guidance and “highly accurate complex end-game algorithms for high single-shot kill probability” in both head-on and tail-chase modes.


Reassuring.

The sleek 3.57-metre long Astra, with a mass weight of 154-kg, flies over four times the speed of sound at Mach 4.5. To be produced by defence PSU Bharat Dynamics for about Rs 7-8 crore per unit, Astra will be a much cheaper indigenous alternative to some of the expensive Russian, French and Israeli BVRAAMs currently imported to arm IAF fighters.


So we are averaging over a million $ per round for the imports.

The DRDO is all gung-ho after it conducted five successful trials of the Astra from Sukhoi fighters against Jet Banshee target aircraft or UAVs, simulating all possible threat scenarios, off the Chandipur coast in Odisha last week.

“The targets were hit at distances of 80 to 86-km with pinpoint accuracy.


Shouldn't have given the ranges IMHO, but after the IAF mentioned it, I guess it was cleared at the highest levels.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Karthik S » 29 Sep 2019 11:43

Karan M wrote:
The DRDO is all gung-ho after it conducted five successful trials of the Astra from Sukhoi fighters against Jet Banshee target aircraft or UAVs, simulating all possible threat scenarios, off the Chandipur coast in Odisha last week.

“The targets were hit at distances of 80 to 86-km with pinpoint accuracy.


Shouldn't have given the ranges IMHO, but after the IAF mentioned it, I guess it was cleared at the highest levels.


wondering what's the rcs of a banshee. Shooting it down 80km away is incredible.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby abhik » 29 Sep 2019 11:51

The 110 to 160 km increase in range is due to dual pulse motor or is it the Ramjet version?

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Karan M » 29 Sep 2019 11:58

Dual pulse likely, ramjet (SFDR) will be far greater range.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby srai » 29 Sep 2019 14:54

Only 200 units order!

Astra Mk.1 already seems to have better specs and performance than all IAF BVR inventory (R-27 (older variants), R-77, MICA-RF, Derby, Super 530D).

IMO, 200 units/year capacity should be built up with large orders 1000-2000 units.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby abhik » 29 Sep 2019 19:39

With great power conflict back in play the air to air missile space is now a focus for all the major players, I have tried to compile the list of technologies that we will see (if not already) implemented in the next gen of AAMs, gurus may add update as required.

Propulsion
1. Dual Pulse motor-> already available in I-Derby, Stunner (AAM Version), Chinese PL-15 etc.
2. Ramjet (variable flow ducted rocket)-> Operational in Meteor, and being R&Ds by Russia, China, India, although looks like it has been rejected by the US for AMRAAM follow-up AIM-260
3. "Highly loaded Grain"-> Reportedly will be used in AIM-260/Already used in GM-88G(?)

Sensors/Networking
Dual Radar/IR seeker-> already available in Stunner, will probably see it in more missiles soon.
AESA Radar seeker-> available in Japanese AAM-4B, with more following suit
Eliminate the fuze (use just the radar seeker)-> I-Derby
Anti Radiation capability -> reportedly in the American T3 program
Two/multi way networking -> Missile is able to communicate with not just the firing platform but get targeting info from a range of platforms

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby brar_w » 29 Sep 2019 20:42

abhik wrote: Dual Radar/IR seeker-> already available in Stunner, will probably see it in more missiles soon..


As of July this year, the Stunner’s dual RF/IR seeker was not in production and existed as a test demonstrator only ( Confirmed by Raytheon/Rafael to me as they are getting ready to offer the missile as part of Patriot’s LCI program and have been heavily promoting the capability of the system against lower end ballistic missiles and cruise missiles) Current production missiles come with an IIR seeker only, though there are plans to upgrade in the future and even retrofit existing stocks. The SM-2 has been operational with a dual RF/IIR seeker for a long time and they are being upgraded with an active RF seeker now with flight testing expected to begin in the next few months (replaces the semi-active RF components with a dual mode Active/Semi-Active X band seeker based of the SM-6). The concept is not very difficult to engineer into a design (or retrofit) but combining them has its limitations and you have to design them to be a primary and secondary sensor as there are different scanning rates and performances to boot. So think of RF sensor as your primary sensor and the IIR as your terminal sensor that kicks in when there is ECM activity going on. When you have BVR missiles that loft high, or otherwise travel very fast (Mach 4+ top speed, probably approaching Mach 5+ range with NG missiles) your RF seeker, and IIR seeker will scan the airspace very differently so true fusion would be very difficult to achieve unless you modulate the speed of the missile.
Image

abhik wrote: Dual Pulse motor-> already available in I-Derby, Stunner (AAM Version), Chinese PL-15 etc.
2. Ramjet (variable flow ducted rocket)-> Operational in Meteor, and being R&Ds by Russia, China, India, although looks like it has been rejected by the US for AMRAAM follow-up AIM-260


Lockheed has the MSE which uses a dual pulse motor and the large diameter VFDR that ARC/Aerojet was first in the world to operationalize for the GQM-163 was born out of a certified USAF funded 7” VFDR that Boeing used for its T3 missile demonstrations. Right now, the performance and the weight savings are leading the designers towards dual/multi pulse highly loaded grain SRMs given weight seems to be a big concern and that miniaturizing everything from actuation to guidance and even warhead and seeker is the need of the hour. Additionally top speed is also likely a main design driver as time to target at all ranges is likely more important than on legacy weapons given time compression caused by VLO aircraft (your window of targeting opportunity may be a fraction of what it may be compared to a non VLO opponent). The AIM-260, SACM and MSDM programs will probably all leverage that design principle. MBDA seems to be aligned with the same as well based on what they’ve released as concepts for 5+-6th gen fighter armament though none of those are funded at the moment.
Last edited by brar_w on 30 Sep 2019 01:46, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Prem Kumar » 29 Sep 2019 22:52

I really hope that there are follow-on orders for Astra MK1 beyond the paltry 200. And that this doesn't go the way of the 248 Arjuns MK1 & 40 Tejas MK1.

Like the Arjun MK1 & Tejas MK1, the Astra MK1 already outclasses everything the IAF has in its inventory. And like the other two, it has been put through trials which none of the imported weapons were put through. I am willing to bet that, if the Sukhois were armed with Astras instead of R77s on Feb 27, they might have had better firing solutions available to them.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby fanne » 29 Sep 2019 23:10

Vidur sir any idea why 200 only? Maybe another confirmatory batch? To further proof production systems, vendors and perhaps more testing? Or as IAF shall put, there is no plan b and never will be one, only plan A (which is R-77/27 and MICA/Meteor and I-Derby but never Astra).

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Kartik » 30 Sep 2019 00:33

Karan M wrote:Pandit the great:
India’s first indigenous beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) for fighters, Astra, is now finally ready for induction after 15 tortuous years of development, with the DRDO expecting the IAF to initially order at least 200 missiles for its Sukhoi-30MKI jets.


The Mica took 14 years of development before it entered service..


Exactly what I was thinking ! I just recently found an old FlightGlobal article from the early 2000s that mentioned the MICA was in development for nearly 15 years.

“Torturous” development. Just imagine the mindset of that fellow who wrote it. Such a snide remark.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby fanne » 30 Sep 2019 01:16

I think Astra currently is only available for SU30MKI, and maybe for a particular version of the radar. Maybe for that version, only some handful of SU30MKI are available (say 40). 5 per aircraft then is not a bad order.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Karan M » 30 Sep 2019 01:20

fanne wrote:I think Astra currently is only available for SU30MKI, and maybe for a particular version of the radar. Maybe for that version, only some handful of SU30MKI are available (say 40). 5 per aircraft then is not a bad order.


Please don't make up such half baked theories. You put this on BRF and then some guy from IDRW will quote it as fact, some media guy will report it as fact and then it will be used to justify orderng only a few Astras.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Karan M » 30 Sep 2019 01:22

Kartik wrote:
Karan M wrote:Pandit the great:


The Mica took 14 years of development before it entered service..


Exactly what I was thinking ! I just recently found an old FlightGlobal article from the early 2000s that mentioned the MICA was in development for nearly 15 years.

“Torturous” development. Just imagine the mindset of that fellow who wrote it. Such a snide remark.


Yup, AMRAAM took development for two decades despite Sparrow experience and Phoenix! ASRAAM was subject to all sorts of angry recriminations between MBDA and British Govt. These media jokers think everything is available on a plate when it comes to R&D.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby brar_w » 30 Sep 2019 01:37

AIM-120 fly-off contracts to the two competing teams/proposals were awarded in early 1979, and Hughes was selected over the Raytheon design a couple of years later. The USAF declared IOC in 1991 after the successful four-vs.-four test (3 direct hits and one lethal miss) from a single F-15A. The program IIRC was expected to deliver in the 1988-1989 time-frame so they were a few years late. But that was a different time as R&D spending in the 1980's was literally "whatever you asked for" (though spending downturn in the immediate post-vietnam time-frame did set the program back a couple of years as did numerous technical hurdles and need to re-work systems). I believe there was also some challenges related to incorporating the right type of Electronic Counter Measure payloads to the QF-100 drones that were finally solved towards the late 1980s with further testing and validation happening in 1990. Similar constraints also existed with availability of supersonic targets that could stress the various components of the missile which is why the USN took some time before it declared IOC as their test and certification program involved different target systems..

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Indranil » 30 Sep 2019 03:17

You guys read Rajat Pandit's articles? A development time of 15 years for a modern BVRAAM is very respectable to any decent observer of weapon systems.

What is torturous is the last fifteen years of Rajat Pandit's writings. I challenge you to bring out a good article from him in the last 15 years!

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Sumeet » 30 Sep 2019 04:52

Karan M wrote:
Kartik wrote:
Exactly what I was thinking ! I just recently found an old FlightGlobal article from the early 2000s that mentioned the MICA was in development for nearly 15 years.

“Torturous” development. Just imagine the mindset of that fellow who wrote it. Such a snide remark.


Yup, AMRAAM took development for two decades despite Sparrow experience and Phoenix! ASRAAM was subject to all sorts of angry recriminations between MBDA and British Govt. These media jokers think everything is available on a plate when it comes to R&D.


Or even the Meteor program which started in 2001 and only flew with RAF Typhoon in Dec 2018 for an active mission and was integrated in 2017. Went through so many technical and non technical hiccups. A simple wiki reading would help these journalists:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_(missile)

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby ramana » 30 Sep 2019 05:43

Sumeet, Most defence reporters main job is to denigrate and underplay DRDO achievements. This supports the import lobby : foreign vendors, dealers, eternal hatefilled procurement folks in MoD and services. And above all politicians.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Vivek K » 30 Sep 2019 07:17

I had put in a nasty response to the Times of Islamabad but I don’t think they put it online. He’s a jerk!

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Aditya_V » 30 Sep 2019 07:38

W.r.t to media it stuff like Astra directly hits their stomach. The whole commission/brokerage system has lesser amounts to play with .You will see fellows part of this ecosystem rant and those outside the ecosystem give positive reports.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby Karan M » 30 Sep 2019 08:18

I remember reading about the AMRAAM program, or at least plans for it, about USAF devpts in the 1960s and early 1970s. Basically that an ARH program to develop a successor to the "disappointing" Sparrow. Ironic that 1978-79 to 1991, is 14 years, the Mica took 15 years and Astra took around the same time, Meteor took 18 years. They are all in the same ballpark, east or west. I just hope Astra Mk2 comes around within the next 3-4 years and SFDR within the next 6 or thereabouts. DRDO basically did the LRSAM and MRSAM motor. They are familiar with the whole dual pulse stuff what Derby-ER brags about, but with an Astra sized dual pulse, it should be meaty indeed. Our big stick threat is the new PL-15 or whatever the PRC calls it, their 200km long stick to fight off IFR/HVT. But could still be used against fighters.

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Re: Indian Missiles News & Discussions - 17 Dec 2018

Postby brar_w » 30 Sep 2019 09:22

No nothing in terms of official program activity in the 60's or early 70s. The Joint Operational Requirements (comparable to the modern day JROC approval process) for for what would become the AMRAAM were firmed up and handed over to interested competitors in November 1978. Full scale development conmenced in 1981 and Hughes was selected as the winner in 1982 (Raytheon was the follower). Developmental testing using test articles started in 1983 as the first missiles were handed over. Initial Operation Test and Evaluation kick started in late 1985 and finally concluded (USAF) in early 1989. Low Rate Production for the operational configuration began in 1988/89 and the USAF began equipping its front line squadrons by late 1990, and declared IOC in March of 1991. By late 1992, the USAF had around 1500 missiles in inventory and the USN had a couple of hundred as well. US Navy waited for some additional months as additional operational test against the supersonic AQM-37 with US Navy specified jammer payloads happened in late 1991/early 92. In short it was a pretty long and winding road that involved a ton of test firings and probably the longest and most expensive A2A missile test program the US had run up till that time. Technical challenges were pretty substantial given that they were working in the limitations of late 1970s / early 1980's technology and given that they were trying to replace the Sparrow with an Active X Band seeker missile that was half the diameter of the Phoenix and weighed nearly 200 lb less than the Sparrow it replaced.

On the Astra article, I think the author was barking up the wrong tree. Instead of questioning S&T and R&D time-frames, perhaps he should have been asking why was this thing not put into rate production earlier so that units could begin equipping earlier so that once it was certified to go operationally..large inventory could be built up in short order..


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