India tests 1,000-kg guided glide bomb

India on Friday successfully tested a 1000-kg guided glide bomb, which was designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The bomb, which was dropped in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Odisha by an Indian Air Force aircraft, glided for nearly 100 km guided by its 'on board navigation system' before hitting the target with great precision, according to an official release.

The flight of the glide bomb was monitored by radars and electro-optic systems stationed at Integrated Test Range (ITR). Multiple DRDO laboratories, namely, DARE (Bangalore), ARDE (Pune) and TBRL (Chandigarh), with RCI (Hyderabad) as the nodal laboratory contributed towards development of the glide bomb.

The complete avionics package and navigation system has been designed and developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI).

Dr. Avinash Chander, scientific advisor to defence minister and secretary, Department of Defence R&D & director-general of DRDO, congratulated the team members, including the Air Force team for the success. ''The nation today has capability to design, developed and launch heavy bombs for delivery up to 100 km away with high precision,'' he said.

Dr G Satheesh Reddy, distinguish scientist and director of RCI, stated, ''The country has now become self-reliant in the area of guided precision bombs''.

India, however, lacks in several critical technologies to ensure that foreign powers cannot manipulate country's aerospace capabilities in future, a high-powered military committee had pointed out earlier.

The committee, headed by Air Marshal M Matheswaran, then deputy chief of integrated staff, committee, had submitted its report to the UPA government a few weeks before the Congress-led coalition was routed in the national elections, according to a report in The Times of India.

"For India to be truly independent militarily, we need to reckon that our defence and technological capabilities are not controlled by external forces," the committee has said. "Today, almost all of our R&D projects in the aeronautical sector can be controlled externally for development time frame and rate of production due to our dependence on raw material & technology," ToI quoted the report as saying.

It points out that countries of Europe, US, Israel etc do dictate their terms and conditions for supply of R&D related requirements.

The committee identified a list of over a dozen technologies in aeronautics sector on which India should urgently get down to work to ensure a minimum level of self-reliance. A further study on the latest technology denial regimes, dual use COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) items etc was required, it said.

Among the items the Matheswaran committee has identified are various materials used for aircraft manufacture, precision guided weapons, aero engines, sensors etc. The committee also predicts that in the 20-40 years India would have to have a range of hypersonic planes and missiles as well as counter-measures against them.

The committee has also pointed out that India needs to find ways to synergise civil and military aviation sectors. According to projections by Airbus and Boeing, Indian market would see purchase of some Rs200,000 to Rs250,000 crore worth of civilian aircraft.

"The technology diffusion effect from civil to military aviation is an established fact as shown by China. If Indian government decides to enforce offset clauses for the civil aero sector, the selling companies will be forced to place their engineering and component/sub system manufacturing work in India," the report says. 

"There is no defence economy as such, nor are we internationally perceived as anything more than a "valued and growing customer" for aircraft. The space and nuclear sectors are happily different," it says.

It says India failed to achieve the degree of indigenization and self-reliance that was possible, with all the stakeholders in the government sector, "not very different from the case in USSR/Russia or China" of the past. However, both Russia and China have surged ahead with public sector beginnings, but India did not.