The Indian Air Force, along with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully tested an indigenously developed light weight ‘Glide’ bomb in Chandipur in Odisha.
Designated as the Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW), the bomb released from the IAF aircraft was guided through precision navigation system. According to an official statement, the ‘glide bomb’ reached the targets at greater than 70 km range, with high accuracies. As many as three test-fires were conducted with different release conditions and ranges.
The SAAW is a long-range precision-guided anti-airfield weapon, designed to be capable of engaging ground targets with high precision out to a range of 100 km.
Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO, Dr. S Christopher confirmed that SAAW will be inducted soon into the Armed Forces.
The bomb has been developed by the DRDO’s Research Centre Imarat (RCI) in collaboration with DRDO’s other laboratories and IAF.
The SAAW is a lightweight high precision guided bomb designed to destroy ground targets, such as runways, bunkers, aircraft hangers and other reinforced structures. Weighing 120 kg (260 lb) it has deep penetration capabilities, carries a high explosive warhead and has a long standoff range of 100 kilometres (62 mi), which will allow the Indian Air Force to strike targets, such as enemy airfields, at a safe distance without putting pilots and aircraft at risk. It is also India’s first fully indigenous anti-airfield weapon, being designed and developed wholly by DRDO.
It can be currently launched from SEPECAT Jaguar and Su-30MKI aircraft. There are plans to integrate the weapon with Dassault Rafale when it is inducted in the Indian Air Force. The Jaguar is capable of carrying six such weapons.
Development and trials
In September 2013, the SAAW project was sanctioned by the Indian Government for ₹ 56.58 crore (565.8 million). It finds mention in a written note submitted by the Ministry of Defence to the Standing Committee on Defence, in a report on ‘Demands for Grants’ to be provided in 2014–15 to the Ordnance Factories Board and DRDO. It is also listed in the list of current programs of the Mission and Combat System R&D Center (MCSRDC) of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Trials for wing functioning of the weapon were successfully conducted in late 2015 at the Rail Track Rocket Sled (RTRS) facility located at the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL), Ramgarh, Haryana.
The first test of the weapon was successfully conducted on 23 May 2016 by the DRDO and Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) from a Jaguar aircraft at Banglore. A second test of the weapon was successfully conducted on 24 December 2016 by the DRDO from a Su-30MKI at the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Odisha. A series of three tests were successfully conducted on 3 November 2017 from an Indian air force aircraft at Integrated Test Range (ITR), Odisha.