India has actually taken a lead in the development and testing of its ‘First Fully Indigenised’Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW). Highly placed sources in the Union ministry of defence shared exclusively that the SAAW was successfully test launched from a Jaguar aircraft towards the fag end of first quarter of May by the Aircraft & amp; Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) in Bangalore.
Official sources revealed that the team comprising officials from the Indian Air Force and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had come to Jaisalmer for testing SAAW twice in the beginning of this month but had to abort the mission due to technical reasons. SAAW has been developed by DRDO for the IAF.
It is to be mentioned that with the development of this weapon, India has reached a platform higher than any other country since even the United States of America, the only other country in the process of developing these kind of precision-guided glide bombs has failed to successfully test the same.
These Small Diameter Bombs (SDB) with a weight of 110 kgs being developed by US were though scheduled to enter production about two years back, could not be kicked off despite two different companies being entrusted with the development in two different phases.
Israel being yet another country as per the sources, which intends to sell these smart bombs and is already into marketing the same, interestingly is also yet to taste success in these weapons.
As per the officials, the test fire from Jaguar in Bangalore has been successful and was a single weapon trial.
The same shall now again be tested in Jaisalmer before being integrated with Su-30 aircraft for multiple weapon trials. It is to be mentioned that the development and trial of SAAW being kept under wraps finds a budget allocation to the tune of Rs 56.58 crores in the category of new projects in a written note submitted by the Union ministry of defence to the standing committee on defence (2014-2015).
SAAW finds a mention in this report on ‘Demands for Grants of the Ministry of Defence for the year 2014-15 on Ordnance Factories and Defence Research and Development Organisation (Demand No. 25 & 26)’ under the chairmanship of Maj Gen B C Khanduri (Retd.)
SAAW is also mentioned in the ‘Current Programs’ of the Mission and Combat System R&D Centre (MCSRDC) on the official website of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). MCSRDC is the R& D Center of HAL, established in November 2008 to design and develop Integrated Avionics Systems for Fixed and Rotary wing aircraft. The HAL site mentions of SAAW in current programs as ‘Trial mod implantation of Smart Anti airfield Weapon (SAAW) on Jaguar DARIN-II aircraft.’
Officials shared that this SAAW weighs around 125-150 kgs and has a strike distance of 80-100 kms.
“It is a long-range, precision guided Air to Surface weapon and can be launched from Jaguar and Su-30 aircraft. In future, the same can be integrated to the French Rafale aircraft being imported by the IAF,” said the official.
This Smart Anti-Air Field Weapon will lend a supreme power to IAF since the high explosive warhead is capable destroying even the steel reinforced concrete runways and bunkers etc of enemy with deep penetration capabilities making it impossible for the enemy aircraft to even take off while being controlled from the cockpit.Box: Is SAAW first completely ‘Made in India’ weapon?
Well, there are many firsts to Smart Anti Airfield weapon. Apart from being touted as the first ‘in the world’, the smart bomb is indeed the first hundred per cent ‘Made in India’ weapon. “All the prestigious missile and weapon systems etc always had imported components and even involved Transfer of Technology in many products, but only in SAAW, India can brag of complete indigenized production starting from the material to the technology as well as all the systems and the sub-systems,” said the official adding that the user agency (IAF) is delighted with the success of SAAW from Jaguar while all its subsystems, aerodynamics etc have been successfully tested. Trials for wing functioning of SAAW were also conducted about eight months back in Rail Track Rocket Sled (RTRS) facility at Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL) at Ramgarh in Haryana as per the officials.