PGM (Purpose Gone Missing)

In the context of Programme Air Defence (PAD) and Advanced Air Defence (AAD), and all the chatter about Prithvi (most of it incorrect!), I thought I'd reproduce Dr VK Saraswat's PGM report from 2003. At the very least, it makes for interesting reading:

Missile Lanched Precision Guided Munitions Report No. RCI/PGT/PGM/1, dated July 7, 2003 and authored by Dr VK Saraswat, then Director RCI, Hyderabad, Main Missile laboratory and now Chief Controller at DRDO Headquarters:

"Non-availability of appropriate technologies has not allowed PGM system's development in India. Though the accuracy levels of some of the missile systems like Prithvi are acceptable in surface-to-surface theater weapons role, but precision strike capability in sub-meter level and precision neutralisation of mutiple targets without collateral damage is not possible with this system. Intelligence to each sub-munition aided by mother missile (e.g. Prithvi supported by high level of navigation accuracy with INS/GPS) is a possible candidate to fulfill precision strike weapon's requirements. Already developed Nag IIR seeker capable of giving sub-meter accuracy can be used for TGSMs (terminally guided submunition).

At present, two types of PGMs are being considered by the Indian Armed Forces. It has been suggested to explore reverse engineering after identifying suitable PGMs, available in the world market. In this contect, sensor fuzed munitions (SFMs) launched from Smerch and laser guided artillery projectiles like Krasnopol, which will be available in India, may be used for bridging the technology gaps. Although, the trend world over is towards precision strike weapons, there is no national programme on PGMs in India. Recently, SA to RM [Dr VK Aatre] has formed this task force for initiation of PGM development programme. Meetings of task force have helped in exchange of technological ideas on PGMs and involvement of many young scientists of various DRDO laboratories. Miniaturization of seeker systems, inertial navigation systems including MEMS [Micro Electro Mechanical Sensor] based sensors, actuators, etc are gaining importance for meeting the challenging requirements of PGMs."

Saraswat's report also has an interesting timeline slide on systems and technologies essential to improve the precision of missiles. There were and are DRDO's milestones and where it wants to end up:

2003: interface with mother missile, modelling and simulation, harware in loop simulation (HILS), control and guidance.

2007: TGSM with Nag IIR seeker, SFM with Strap Down millimeter wave. (Automatic Target Recognition, Lock-on After Launch, Target Library, Lattice Tail Fin)

2012: Miniaturised TGSM/SFM (miniaturised IR/IIR/MMW, acoustic sensors)

2017: MEMS based TGSM/SFM single/dual/seekerless (MEMS; seekers/sensors/SOC)

Hmm! So after a couple of decades of PGM development (albeit not under a national programme), the Army wants DRDO to seriously consider reverse-engineering the Krasnopol (click here for the Express report on how the Krasnopol has turned out a virtual dud too).

Sources in the Army also tell me that the Prithvis deployed on our borders have problems with their battery packs and fuel leaks. A liaison group has recently been set up to sort out the matter quietly without having the haul the systems back to Hyderabad.

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