DRDO Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon
The DRDO Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) is a long-range precision-guided anti-airfield weapon currently being developed by India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It is designed to be capable of engaging ground targets with high precision up to a range of 100 kilometres (62 mi).
|DRDO Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon|
|Type||Precision-guided Anti-Airfield glide bomb|
|Place of origin||India|
|Designer||Defence Research and Development Organisation|
|Mass||120 kg (260 lb)|
The SAAW project was approved by the Indian government in 2013. The first successful test of the weapon was conducted in May 2016. Another successful test was conducted in November of the following year. This was followed by a series of three successful tests in December 2017.
Between 16 and 18 August 2018, three successful tests were conducted, which brought the total number of tests to eight.
The SAAW is being developed by the Research Centre Imarat (RCI), and other DRDO laboratories in collaboration with the Indian Air Force (IAF). It is a lightweight high precision guided bomb designed to destroy ground targets, such as runways, bunkers, aircraft hangars and other reinforced structures. Weighing 120 kg (260 lb) it has deep penetration capabilities, carries a high explosive warhead and has a standoff range of 100 kilometres (62 mi), which will allow users to strike targets, such as enemy airfields, at a safe distance without putting pilots and aircraft at risk. It is India's first fully indigenous anti-airfield weapon, being designed and developed wholly by DRDO.
According to DRDO chief S. Christopher, unlike normal bombs in the Indian inventory which are sensitive to environmental conditions and therefore may not precisely hit the intended target, the precision-guided SAAW has higher precision and can precisely hit the intended target. According to him, "this is a sort of guided bomb and it will be much much cheaper than a missile or rocket, the reason being that it is not having a propulsion, it is making use of the aircraft's propulsion. It can go and land in a place we want."
The SAAW can currently be launched from the SEPECAT Jaguar and Su-30MKI aircraft. The Jaguar is capable of carrying six such weapons. There are plans to integrate the weapon with the Dassault Rafale when it is inducted into the Indian Air Force.
Development and trialsEdit
In September 2013, the SAAW project was sanctioned by the Indian Government for rupees ₹56.58 crore (US$7.9 million). The project finds mention in a written note submitted by the Ministry of Defence to the Standing Committee on Defence, in a report on 'Demands for Grants' to be provided in 2014–15 to the Ordnance Factories Board and DRDO. It is also listed in the list of current programs of the Mission and Combat System R&D Center (MCSRDC) of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Trials for the wing functioning of the weapon were successfully conducted in late 2015 at the Rail Track Rocket Sled (RTRS) facility located at the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL), Ramgarh, Haryana.
According to plans, the weapon was to be tested by the beginning of May 2016 in Jaisalmer. However, owing to technical reasons, the test had to be aborted twice. The weapon was finally tested at the end of the first week of May 2016 by the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) of the IAF from a Jaguar DARIN II aircraft at Bangalore, and the test was successful.
A second test of the weapon was successfully conducted on 24 December 2016 by the DRDO from a Su-30MKI aircraft at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Odisha. It included captive flight and release tests which were tracked by radar and telemetry ground stations at the ITR throughout the flight duration.
On 3 November 2017, a series of three tests were successfully conducted from an Indian Air Force aircraft at the ITR at Chandipur, Odisha. The bomb, upon release from the aircraft, was guided by an on-board precision navigation system and reached the targets at a range of more than 70 kilometers with high accuracy. According to a statement by the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD), the tests were conducted with different release conditions and ranges. The statement also cited DRDO chief S. Christopher as saying that the weapon will soon be inducted into service.
On 19 August 2018, the Indian MoD announced through a press release that a total of three tests were successfully conducted from a Jaguar aircraft between 16 and 18 August 2018 at the Chandan range in Pokhran, Rajasthan, thus bringing the total number of tests to eight. During the tests, the SAAW, fitted with a live warhead, destroyed the intended targets with high precision. The press statement further said that all the mission objectives were achieved, adding that the tests were witnessed by senior officials from DRDO, HAL and IAF.
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