Indian Army's Russian Smerch rocket launchers facing hitches

There are problems in the barrels of some of these rocket launchers and we have told the Russians about the issues related to firing of the system, senior Army sources told PTI here.

The Smerch rocket launchers are the latest inductions of the Indian Army after a deal was signed for their procurement in December 2005 for more than Rs 2,600 crore.

The sources said the Russians will be visiting India to look into the issue and try to rectify the problems in the system.

The issue is understood to have come up for discussion during the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation meeting between the Defence Ministers of the two countries earlier this month.

The system has had several defects in its launch vehicles, outlaying fire controls and data transmission, which led to delays in its operationalisation in the service, the sources said.

The Smerch long range rocket systems have a range of over 60 kms, almost three times the distance of the present Indian artillery rocket systems.

India had signed two deals in December 2005, and March 2007, with Russian firm Rosoboronexport for importing 42 of the MBRL systems along with launcher, transloader and command and control systems.

Smerch MBRL along with the Russian-origin Grad 122 mm rocket systems and indigenous Pinaka form the important part of the Indian Army's firepower.

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