The Indian Army is set to induct enhanced range variants of Pinaka and Grad rockets. User trials of Pinaka Mk-1 Enhanced rockets were successfully completed in August. 122mm Enhanced Range Rocket (ERR) for BM-21 Grad are close to being ordered, with a Request for Proposal (RfP) having been issued earlier this year. Both rockets were developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The Pinaka Mk-1 Enhanced rockets were test fired at ranges in Pokhran and Balasore. These rockets have a range of 45km compared to the 37.5km range of the original Mk-1 rockets. This is achieved mainly by the incorporation of six flat fins instead of the four curved fins in Mk-1. The front end igniter in Mk-1 is replaced by a nozzle closing cap mounted ignition system in Mk-1 Enhanced. The enhanced rocket is marginally shorter and heavier than Mk-1. DRDO claims that a maximum range of 50km had been demonstrated during design trials.
Nagpur based Economic Explosives Limited (EEL) and state owned Munitions India Limited (MIL) already produce Pinaka rockets for production and testing. Both firms are also in the race to produce Guided Pinaka rockets and ADM warheads. EEL and MIL have received technology from DRDO for production of Pinaka Mk-1 Enhanced. Over 120 rockets made by both firms were fired during the user trials. Firms like Yantra India Limited (YIL) also produce components such as pods.
The smaller 122mm ERR is also set to be inducted into the Indian Army in large numbers. DRDO reverse engineered the original Soviet BM-21 rockets. The range was then doubled to 40km in 122mm ERR using composite propellant packed into case bonded grains. It also features an ignition system similar to the Pinaka Mk-1 Enhanced. An RfP issued in early 2022, accessed by Overt Defense, called for supplying 5,000 122mm rockets every year for 10 years. This includes both the ERR and regular rockets.
The RfP envisions manufacture of 2,000 ERR rockets per annum. The 122 ERR has a length of 2.9m and has a minimum range of 8km using brake rings. Various types of fuzes are available for the 66.5kg rocket. The unguided rocket is stabilised using four curved fins. The Indian Army has five Grad regiments, each with around 20 launchers, which have been upgraded by Ashok Leyland and L & T.