John wrote:Russia offers guided missiles and they reach 90 km you aren’t going to get more than what they have achieved. Plus I doubt the Russians would be willing to supply just the launchers any deal would involve rockets and comes with all the political baggage like restrictions on using domestic missiles apart from licensed production.
Considering we already have Pinaka which is lot cheaper why bother. We can scale up and develop a variant that uses 300mm missiles.
We have achieved 75 Kms with 216 mm rockets and this too is likely to increase to about 80-85 Kms. Achieving 120-125 Kms with 300 mm rockets, which are also longer should definitely be possible.
This would put some of the paki airbases and major military targets easily within reach. Being able to pepper paki airbases from within our own territory, with precision guided rockets, which are much cheaper than ballistic missiles, does have value. The other option would be the Prahaar missiles.
The Smerch rockets weigh around 800-900 Kgs with a 240 Kg warhead. The warhead weight for Pinaka is 100 Kgs. For Prahaar the missile diameter is 420 mm, with a 200-500 Kgs warhead and a total weight of 1,240 Kgs. The length of Smerch rockets and Prahaar is almost the same.
The advantage with Smerch is that its a 12 tube system and can fire in salvo mode. A regiment of 12 launchers can lay down a lot of firepower.
If we have domestically produced rockets, then the cost will definitely be much lower. We are already producing BM-21 rockets locally and these have enhanced range, better accuracy and are cheaper than Russian rockets.
The key would be for India to negotiate a contract with the Russian's that allows India to use its own rockets in the future. The initial order of the launchers can be placed with a token order of say 2-3 reload worth of rockets. If the Russian's don't agree, shelve the proposal.
As it is over the next 10 years, India will buy less and less of Russian military hardware and will increasingly also emerge as a potential competitor to Russia, in the International arms market. A case in point being Indian offer of Astra missiles for Vietnam's Su-27/30 aircrafts. These would be in place of Russian R-77 missiles and if such a sale were to actually go through (not that I expect that it will), Russia would certainly be displeased.
We negotiated for possibility of Indian weapons to be integrated on the Rafael with the French and finally for the govt. to govt. deal they relented. Now, with India's capabilities increasing, the writing is on the wall for all nations wanting to supply weapons systems to India. Be ready to give the best and also customize and also some level of local production or support in other spheres for any sale to be possible.
Russia increasingly doesn't have anything cutting edge to offer to India, as specially in the conventional weapons space.