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Smart Anti Air Field Weapon (SAAW)

Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) project is Indias first fully indigenous anti-airfield weapon project sanctioned by Government in September 2013. It was indigenously developed by state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in collaboration with IAF and the Research Centre Imarat (RCI). It is meant to deal debilitating damage to ground infrastructure such as runways, taxi ways, aircraft hangars and bunkers among other things.

Smart Anti Air Field Weapon (SAAW) is long-range, stand-off, precision air-to-surface weapon (125 kg class) capable of engaging ground targets for launch from Jaguar and Su30 MKI aircraft. The lightweight bombs would serve a major role in strike missions to destroy ground installations and enemy runways. A guided bomb is cheaper to build, as unlike a missile, it has no on-board motor and it relies on small control surfaces which direct the weapon towards a target.

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.

Depending on operational requirements, it can also be used against other ground targets to give Indian forces enhanced area-denial capabilities, like taking out ground infrastructure. The guided bomb is considered to be one of the world-class weapons system. It is said to have higher precision and much cheaper compared with missiles. It can be integrated into varied types of multi role fighter jets of IAF such as MiG, Sukhoi Su-30 and ground attack SEPECAT Jaguar. SAAWs deep penetration capabilities and high explosive warhead carrying capacity will enhance capability of IAF to easily hit targets across border without putting pilot and aircraft at risk.

Anti-airfield weapons are critical in war-like scenarios, since they help to give debilitating blow to adversarial air forces. These high-explosives warheads are meant to cause maximum damage possible to runways and other key infrastructure, in way that prevents quick repair . If successful, attack using such bombs render airfield useless, grounding all the war planes that are based at that air field.

The smart anti-airfield weapon (SAAW), developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisations Research Centre Imarat (RCI), other labs and the Indian Air Force, is fired from air force aircraft. The SAAW project was sanctioned in September 2013. SAAW has been described as a 120 kg smart weapon, which is capable of engaging targets with high precision up to a range of 100 km. The long-range will allow the IAF to easily hit targets across the border without putting the pilot and aircraft at risk. It can be integrated into the varied types of fighter jets with the IAF. The weapon can be used to destroy bunkers, runways, aircraft hangers and other reinforced structures.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is working hard to develop the smart anti-airfield weapon for the Indian Air Force and is expected to commission delivery by 2020. The weapon had been developed for over four years at DRDOs Research Imarat Centre in Hyderabad. It is equipped with an inertial navigation system which uses motion sensors, gyroscopes to continuously calculate a moving objects position. This weapon is designed to restrict enemy troop movement, penetrate canopies and demolish bunkers to achieve combat superiority. The weapon is also capable of sending back target images for better damage assessment at the time of the airstrike.

India tested Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) from a Jaguar aircraft at the beginning of May 2016. "The SAAW was successfully test launched from a Jaguar aircraft towards the fag end of first quarter of May by the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) in Bangalore," TOI quoted unamed sources in the defence ministry as saying. Official sources revealed that the team comprising officials from the Indian Air Force and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had come to Jaisalmer for testing SAAW but had to abort the mission due to technical reasons.

SAAW has been developed by DRDO for the IAF. These Small Diameter Bombs (SDB) with a weight of 110 kgs being developed by US were though scheduled to enter production could not be kicked off despite two different companies being entrusted with the development in two different phases. The same shall now again be tested in Jaisalmer before being integrated with Su-30 aircraft for multiple weapon trials. It is to be mentioned that the development and trial of SAAW being kept under wraps finds a budget allocation to the tune of Rs 56.58 crores (US $8.3 million) in the category of new projects in a written note submitted by the Union ministry of defence to the standing committee on defence (2014-2015). The HAL site mentions of SAAW in current programs as 'Trial mod implantation of Smart Anti airfield Weapon (SAAW) on Jaguar DARIN-II aircraft.'

During the year 2017, mechanical, electrical and avionics integration of SAAW to Jaguar CLP was successfully completed and communication between SAAW OBC and Jaguar MC was established. Captive flight trials which included 9 sorties were also completed at Bengaluru. Drop Trials of SAAW from Jaguar were under progress.

Three release trials with different flight conditions were successfully conducted in November 2017 from Jaguar aircraft. Indigenously developed light weight Glide Bomb, SAAW (Smart Anti Airfield Weapon) was successfully tested in November 2017 from Indian Air Force aircraft in the ranges at ITR, Chandipur, Odisha. The guided bomb released from the aircraft and guided through precision navigation system, reached the targets at greater than 70 km range, with high accuracies. A total of three tests with different release conditions and ranges were conducted and all were successful. The guided bomb is developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI), DRDO along with other laboratories of DRDO and Indian Air Force.

Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman congratulated the DRDO scientists and Indian Air Force for the successful tests. Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO, Dr S Christopher congratulated the team and said SAAW will be inducted soon into the Armed Forces. Director General Missiles and Strategic System DG (MSS) Dr G Satheesh Reddy said it's a major milestone in the indigenous capabilities to develop guided bombs.

The DRDO Chief S. Christopher said 05 November 2017 unlike the normal bombs, which may not hit the precise target due to environmental condition, this bomb with a navigation system has higher precision, and is cheaper than missiles which have similar precision. "So far the bombs we have don't have precision, so they go by wind condition, weather condition... When you are fighting the enemy, you can't keep trying hundred times, once you have fired he will know where you are," Christopher said. "As the weather and wind conditions change, it is always possible for the bomb to go elsewhere. In this bomb, the guidance system will correct its course and go and land at the same place." He added "This is a sort of guided bomb and it will be much much cheaper than a missile or rocket, the reason being that it is not having a propulsion, it is making use of the aircraft's propulsion. It can go and land in a place we want".

Impact trial of SAAW was conducted in May 2018 to access penetration capability of SAAW in full configuration mode. Three tests of SAAW were also carried out during August 2018 from IAF aircraft. The indigenously designed and developed guided bombs Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) was also successfully flight tested from IAF aircraft at Chandan range in Jaisalmer.

The weapon system was integrated with the live warhead and had destroyed the targets with high precision. Senior officials from DRDO and the Indian Air Force participated and witnessed the flight tests. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has congratulated the DRDO and the Indian Army on the successful flight tests for further strengthening the defence capabilities of the country. The weapon had undergone eight developmental flight trials by 2018.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully tested indigenously developed light weight glide bomb Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) dropped from an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft. Total of three tests with different release conditions and ranges were conducted at Chandan range near Pokhran in Rajasthan. Total of three tests with eighth round of developmental trails with different release conditions were conducted during 16 to 18 August 2018 and all the mission objectives have been achieved. During the test, weapon system was integrated with live warhead. It successfully destroyed targets with high precision.

In August 2018 the indigenously designed and developed guided bombs Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) were successfully flight tested from IAF aircraft at Chandan range. The weapon system was integrated with live warhead and has destroyed the targets with high precision. The telemetry and tracking systems captured all the mission events. This weapon is capable of destroying variety of ground targets using precision navigation. A total of three tests with different release conditions were conducted during 16 to 18 August 2018 and all the mission objectives have been achieved.

The weapon had undergone eight developmental trials till date and performance of system for different ranges under multiple launch conditions has been demonstrated. Senior officials from DRDO, HAL and Indian Air Force participated and witnessed the flight tests. Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman congratulated the DRDO, IAF and HAL on the successful flight tests for further boosting the defence capabilities of the country.

By 2020 the smart anti-airfield weapon had been successfully tested 17 times and boasts of an accuracy of 7 to 20 metres. As reported earlier, SAAW is integrated with a live warhead and is capable of destroying various targets using precision navigation.

The Defence Acquisition Council meeting held under the Chairmanship of Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath on 28 September 2020 approved proposals for Capital acquisitions of various equipment required by the Indian Armed Forces at an approximate cost of Rs 2,290 crore. These include procurement from Domestic Industry as well as Foreign vendors. Under the Buy Indian (IDDM) category, the DAC approved procurement of Static HF Tans-receiver sets and Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW). The HF radio sets will enable seamless communication for the field units of Army and Air Force and are being procured at an approx. cost of Rs. 540 crore. The Smart Anti Airfield Weapon being procured at an approx. cost of Rs. 970 crore will add to the fire power of Navy and Airforce.

Smart Anti Air Field Weapon (SAAW) Smart Anti Air Field Weapon (SAAW) Smart Anti Air Field Weapon (SAAW) Smart Anti Air Field Weapon (SAAW) Smart Anti Air Field Weapon (SAAW)



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Page last modified: 30-01-2021 14:00:53 ZULU