January 10th, 2008 02:09 EST
India is scrapping its strategic integrated guided missile program
India is scrapping its strategic integrated guided missile program, and will undertake the development and production of advanced weapons systems with foreign cooperation, the country's top defense scientist said on Tuesday.
However, longer range missiles, sea launched missiles, and futuristic weapons systems like electronic counter-warfare measures would be "undertaken in-house," Dr. S. Prahlada told the Press Trust of India (PTI).
He said the Integrated Development of Guided Missile Program (IDGMP) had been "closed" since most of the missiles under the project had been almost completed and adopted for service in the Armed Forces.
"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 the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) headquarters, said.
While India would be collaborating with Israel for development of surface-to-air upgraded Spyder missiles, for Astra missiles, it "has roped in French and Russian" partners, he said.
The Russian-Indian joint venture BrahMos said in late December it had bought a manufacturing plant in south India to double production of its supersonic cruise missiles.
The joint venture bought a plant from state company Kerala Hightech Industries Ltd, the purchase that would allow it to bring production to 50 BrahMos missiles a year.
Established in 1998, BrahMos Aerospace designs, produces and markets supersonic missiles, whose sea-based and land-based versions have been successfully tested and put into service with the Indian Army and Navy.
The Brahmos missile has a range of 180 miles and can carry a conventional warhead of up to 660 pounds. It can hit ground targets flying at an altitude as low as 10 meters (30 feet) and at a speed of Mach 2.8, which is about three times faster than the U.S.-made subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile.