India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully test-fired an enhanced version of the rocket used by the Pinaka multiple rocket launcher system (MRLS). A total of six extended-range rockets were launched in quick succession on 4 November from the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur, adding that the tests met the mission objectives. The DRDO decided to develop the new rocket variant “to achieve longer-range performance compared to the earlier design with reduced length”, adding that the enhanced version of the Pinaka rocket is expected to gradually replace the existing 214 mm Pinaka Mk I rockets, which are currently under series production and have a range of between 38 km and 48 km.
Pinaka is a multiple rocket launcher produced in India and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Army. The system has a maximum range of 40 km for Mark-I and 75 km for Mark-II, and can fire a salvo of 12 HE rockets in 44 seconds. The system is mounted on a Tatra truck for mobility. Pinaka saw service during the Kargil War, where it was successful in neutralising enemy positions on the mountain tops.It has since been inducted into the Indian Army in large numbers. About 5,000 missiles are being produced every year while an advanced variant is under development with enhanced range and accuracy.
The first Pinaka regiment was raised on February 2000. Each regiment consists of three batteries of six Pinakas each, plus reserves. On 29 March 2006, the Indian Army awarded Tata Power SED and Larsen & Toubro’s Heavy Engineering Division a contract worth ₹200 crore (US$28 million), to produce 40 Pinaka MBRLs each. Tata Power SED declared that it would be delivering the first units within six months. On 29 October 2015, the Defence Acquisition Council chaired by the Defence Minister of India, cleared purchase of two more Pinaka regiments at a cost of ₹3,300 crore (US$460 million). On March 18, 2016, the Cabinet Committee on Security(CCS) cleared the purchase of two additional Pinaka regiments.