India scraps integrated guided missile programme
New Delhi, (PTI): India on Tuesday announced scrapping of the country's strategic integrated guided missile programme, and said the development and production of most of futuristic weapons systems would henceforth be undertaken with foreign collobration.
However, longer range missiles, under-sea launched missiles and furturistic weapons systems like electronic counter-warfare measures would be "undertaken in-house," said one of the country's top defence scientists, Dr S Prahlada.
He said "closure" of the Integrated Development of Guided Missile Programme (IDGMP) had been done, as manufacture of most of the missiles to be developed under the project had been almost completed and inducted into the armed forces.
"Unlike post-Pokhran, when doors to technology transfers were closed on us," now doors of frontline armament technology transfer are now open," he said.
"New missile and weapons systems will be developed within a five-year time frame at low costs, with foreign partners and private industries" Prahalda, Chief Controller at DRDO headquarters, said.
The first of such ventures, Prahalda said, would be development of quick reaction missiles to counter threats from low-flying missiles and fighters and Astra, India first bid to develop a beyond-visual range air-to-air missile.
While India would be collobrating with Israel for development of surface-to-air upgraded spyder missiles, for Astra, New Delhi has roped-in French and Russian collobrators.
Terming IDGMP as a "path-breaking" experience for Indian defence scieintists, Prahlada said "working on it has given our experts pioneering and powerful expertise."
He said it was on the basis of such expertise that India would be the major partner in all future weapons systems development programmes comprising missiles, network-centric operations and development of submarines and other armament systems.
"Countries like France, Israel,UK, Russia, Germany and Singapore have expressed their readiness to work jointly with us" he said adding that "New Delhi intended to take this forward."
Prahalada also hinted that similar arrangements could also be worked out with the United States.
Integrated Guided Missile Development Porgramme was initiated by India in early 1980's and under it surface-to-surface longer range Agni group of missiles, shorter range tactical battlefield missiles 'Prithvi', surface-to-air 'Trishul' and long-range multiple target surface-to-air Akash missiles have been developed.
The fifth and final missile - the fourth generation anti-tank missile 'Nag' - is the only missile yet to be inducted.
"Final user trials of 'Nag' are slated for summer in the Thar desert" (of Rajasthan), Prahlada said adding that after this the missile would be inducted into the Army.