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The state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited on 21st January 2021 achieved a major milestone by successfully test-firing a Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) from the Hawk-i aircraft off the coast of Odisha.
- In a boost to the indigenous Hawk-I programme, defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on 21st January 2021 successfully test fired a Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) from the Hawk-i aircraft off the coast of Odisha.
- Hawk aircraft is a tandem seat aircraft developed by HAL. The aircraft has an integrated attack system and radio and inertial navigation system. It is spin resistant.
- The aircraft flown by HAL test pilots Wing Commander (retd) P Awasthi and Wing Commander (retd) M Patel executed the weapon release. HAL said it was done in a textbook manner and met all mission objectives. The telemetry and tracking systems captured all the mission events confirming the success of the trials.
- The SAAW is a precision strike weapon that can be used to target enemy airfield assets such as radars, bunkers, taxi tracks and runways. Indigenously developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization’s research centre Imarat, the weapon has a range of 100 km. It was test-fired from the IAF’s Jaguar fighter planes.
- It is the first smart weapon to be fired from an Indian Hawk Mk132 trainer aircraft. “HAL has been focusing on the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign. The company-owned Hawk-I platform is being extensively used for certification of systems and weapons developed indigenously by DRDO and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research labs,” HAL chairman R Madhavan said. The plane was flown by HAL test pilots Wing Commanders (retd) P Awasthi and M Patel.
- According to SIPRI report published in 2020, India ranked 23rd in the list of major arms exporters. India ranked fourth in Defence Firepower Index, 2021.
- SAAW is a long-range precision guided anti-airfield weapon. The weapon is capable of engaging ground targets with precision up to a range of hundred kilo metres.
- Basically, SAAW is a bomb. It is designed to destroy targets such as bunkers, runways, reinforced structures and aircraft hangers.
- The SAAW project was approved by Government of India in 2013. So far, eight successful tests of SAW have been conducted.
- In 2020, the Government of India approved SAAW project for Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.