Thursday, November 10, 2011

India Presses Russians on Smerch Problems

NEW DELHI - India is pressing Russia about Smerch multibarrel rocket launchers (MRBLs) that Indian Army officials say have problems with their firing system. The Army is also having difficulties obtaining spare parts for the Russian-built weapons.
An Indian delegation raised the matters last month at a joint meeting in Moscow, Defence Ministry sources said. The outcome of the meeting was not known.
A Russian diplomat here said the firing system problems occur only in isolated cases, and noted that the Army had tested the weapons before bringing them into service.
The Indian Army needs more Smerches, despite the technical problem, an Army official said.
India bought the Smerch in 2005 and 2006. New Delhi asked for technology transfer, but Russia refused.
The Army relies heavily on the Smerch MRBLs, which can fire 12 rockets at once and hit targets out to 70 kilometers, along with the Russian-origin Grad 122mm rocket systems and indigenous Pinaka MRBL.
Its range can be extended to 90 kilometers, the Army official said. It can also launch surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, he added.

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