A US-made Paveway laser-guided bomb dropped from a Mirage 2000 aircraft failed to hit a pre-determined stationary target at night during the combat exercise, ‘Iron Fist’ last week.
The Indian air force conducted the combat exercise at Rajastan’s Pokhran test facility on March 18, wherein the French aircraft fighter’s target was an enemy radar site. The guided bombs failed to hit the target twice.
The air force will “critically evaluate” this week why it missed two targets during the combat exercise at Pokhran test facility on March 18, a top IAF officer familiar with the drills was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times Monday.
The Soviet-origin OSA AK-M surface-to-air missile system also failed to hit its mark. The missile’s design is such that it does not need direct contact with the target to explode. A “proximity fuse” automatically blows it up when it gets to a certain distance from the target.
“One of the two missiles could not engage its target. It appears the fuse did not function as the missile may not have been close to the target,” the officer said.
Weapons not striking targets under controlled conditions are a cause of concern, but an IAF source said the possibility of 10% of weapons not functioning was built into the tactical planning process.
Apart from these another laser-guided bomb fired by the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft missed its target during the exercise.
"It is very much clear that there was no pilot error or technical snag. It was probably the laser-guided kit imported from Israel that may have malfunctioned," NDTV reported quoting an unnamed IAF official as saying.
The Indian Air Force initially said the laser-guided bomb and an air-to-air missile fired by Tejas had engaged targets with "deadly precision".
The official said Tejas was granted a kill even though the laser proximity fuse, which guides the bomb to the target, did not fire.
The detailed analysis of Iron Fist, an exercise held every three years to deter a conflict, will look into why the accuracy of the air-to-ground precision weapon was degraded, said another officer.