Nagpur: City’s Solar Group successfully tested an improved version of the Pinaka rockets on Friday, which was co-developed by the company with the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) – a branch of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) .
The rockets with improved range can fire up to 45 km compared to the extended range version, which can fire up to 40 km.
The successful test paves the way for the company to participate in a request for proposal (RFP), which could be issued by the military in the coming days for the purchase of the rockets.
The defense activities of Solar Group are carried out by its wholly-owned subsidiary Economic Explosives Limited (EEL).
It is the first private entity to have co-developed the artillery rocket system with ARDE and the High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL). This means that the company has invested in the development of rockets. As a co-developer, Solar Group obtains the first exclusive production right for the system. The company has invested around Rs45 crore in the co-development project, a source said.
On Friday, Solar’s 25 122mm rockets were fired from a multi-gun launcher at the Chandipur Integrated Test Field in Odisha. Rockets fired in rapid succession aimed at targets at different distances. “All mission objectives were met during launches, flight items were tracked by distance instruments including ranging, radar and electro-optical tracking system,” said a note shared by the company .
In addition to the 25 enhanced range rockets, four of the Pinaka extended range rockets, which can destroy a target up to 40 km, were also fired. The objectives of the mission were achieved, specifies the note.
The two rockets are expected to replace the existing Pinaka MK1 rockets, currently in use by the military. MK1s are also made by munitions factories.
The first phase tests took place in November of last year. On Friday, the last stage of the DRDO level testing was completed. Now the military can launch its user trials on the procurement process launch by issuing tenders.
User trials should take place after the call for tenders has been launched. Being a co-developer of rocket systems gives Solar Group an advantage.
The company, which has grown into a major private-sector munitions manufacturing entity, is also expected to hold user trials for an 81mm mortar shell within a week.
Solar Group, which won the order to manufacture the latest multimodal hand grenades for the military, is also the first private company to manufacture the product. Delivery of the first batch is expected soon. Multimodal grenades will replace the WWII design M36 grenades.