Air Weapons: India Tries To Survive A Broken ARM

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April 1, 2016: The Indian Air Force has gone public with the problems it is having with a new ARM (Anti-radiation missile) being developed for them by DRDO (India's Defense Research and Development Organization). The NGARM (New Generation Anti-Radiation Missile) is larger and 40 percent heavier than the air force specified and it is still uncertain that it will work. NGARM has a range of 60 kilometers and is meant to replace the Anglo-French Martel, a 1980s design that weighs 550 kg (1,210 pounds) and even with updated electronics is inferior to the American AGM-88 HARM, which the Indian Air Force wants to buy 1,500 of. That will not be possible if the government insists on the air force using NGARM, which will not be available until 2019 at the earliest.

The Indian Air Force wants the AGM-88E which weighs 361 kg (794 pounds) and can detect and attack targets more than 150 kilometers away while travelling at a speed of 2,450 kilometers per hour. The AGM-88E can transmit a picture of the target, just before it is hit, so the user can be certain of what was taken out. The AGM-88E was developed jointly by U.S. and Italian firms. The original 1960s anti-radiation missile (ARM) quickly evolved into the HARM. Currently, there are orders for over 2,000 AGM-88E/Fs from the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, Italy, and Germany. Over 24,000 AGM-88s, of all types, have been produced since the 1980s.

DRDO is a network of 51 weapons and technology laboratories, employing over 30,000 people (20 percent of them scientists and engineers.) DRDO has been screwing up Indian weapons development programs for half a century. Efforts to shape up DRDO have consistently failed. It's all about politics (DRDO provides jobs for well-connected people) and nationalism (India wants to produce its own high tech weapons.) DRDO has failed in most all areas (small arms, tanks, missiles and warplanes). The failures have grown over the years, and created louder calls for reforms. DRDO has had some successes, which it publicizes as energetically as it can. It tries to play down the failures, or simply tout them as partial successes. But compared to defense industries in other nations, DRDO is an underperformer, and highly resistant to reform.

 


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