A collaborative Indian industry team led by Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) has unveiled an array of new air-launched precision-guided weapons and lightweight cruise missiles.
The team disclosed the development of a family of three prototype airborne weapon systems, respectively designated Waghnak, Khagantak, and Vel, all of which are envisioned as low-cost, state-of-the-art, penetration weapons for domestic and export customers. However, the weapons can be fitted with different payloads or seekers as per customer requirement.
The development is part of an effort led by BEL with industry partners, including Nagpur-based start-up JSR Dynamics, to develop universal advanced guided weapons that provide an improved air-to-surface attack capability for combat aircraft operating in contested airspace. BEL will supply all electronics and guidance subsystems, while the body and control systems are supplied by JSR Dynamics. The team claims that the weapons will have only 10% imported subsystems, but declined to disclose further details.
The Waghnak is a 450 kg-class precision stand-off glide munition, similar in appearance to the US-built AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW) but with a different design approach. The weapon has a streamlined lightweight carbon composite body with fold-out mid-body glide wings and five aft control surfaces to deliver a range of 154 km at a launch altitude of 12,000 m, with a maximum engagement speed of 272 m/s. BEL claims that the composite material helps reduce the Waghnak's radar cross section (RCS) signature and improves operational range.
BEL is offering a basic option of Waghnak featuring a multiband passive RF seeker (1-3, 3-6, 6-12 GHz) with an inertial navigation system (INS)/GPS with long-wave infrared (IR) sensor for terminal guidance, and a tandem warhead (primary: 225 kg penetration warhead; secondary: 45 kg shaped charge) for hard-surface attack. The munition can be configured with only an INS/GPS, semi-active laser (SAL), or medium-wave IR seeker as required.
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