Murphy's Law: The Undead Missile


October 23, 2006: India has decided to extend, by another year, the development of its Trishul anti-aircraft missile system. This project was cancelled in 2003, after two decades of failure and cost overruns. But developing weapons is politically popular, and worth lots of money to Indian manufacturers, and corrupt Indian politicians. Although cancelled, the project is kept going for "research purposes," or on the odd chance that it may eventually prove superior to the Barak system that is being purchased from Israel, to do what Trishul was designed to do. Barak works, but Trishul is made-in-India, and that counts for a lot.


There was a successful test of the Trishul  missile last year. Trishul has been in development for over twenty years (since 1983). First test firing took place in 1991, and the manufacturer declared test firings completed by 1998. The armed forces, however, rejected the missile, as not ready for service. So development continued, until 2003, when the project was cancelled. But the project, which has cost nearly $200 million so far, had political friends. Development was allowed to continue, even though neither the army or the navy wants it. The missile has a range of some nine kilometers, and has suffered mainly from reliability problems, particularly with its guidance system.




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