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The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of India is reportedly working on developing an advanced variant of the Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW). This precision-guided bomb is specifically designed to neutralize enemy runways, aircraft hangars, bunkers, radars, and other fortified structures.

The new variant aims to significantly increase the weapon’s range by 40-50 per cent and equip it with Mini Turbojet propulsion, enabling it to hit deeper targets or readjust and defeat mobile and relocatable threats. The DRDO envisions this upgraded SAAW to operate effectively in all weather and day/night environments while adhering to strict rules of engagement to minimize collateral damage.

One of the key enhancements in the proposed variant is the addition of Mini Turbojet propulsion. After completing its initial glide phase, the weapon will utilize this advanced propulsion system to extend its range and strike targets that are located farther away. This modification effectively transforms the SAAW into a miniature cruise missile, broadening its operational capabilities. By incorporating Mini Turbojet propulsion, the weapon gains the ability to strike targets beyond its original range, making it a more versatile asset for the Indian Armed Forces.

To maximize its effectiveness, the new SAAW variant will be deployable in strike missions using platforms such as the Su-30MKI fighter aircraft. These platforms will be equipped with quad launchers, capable of carrying up to 8, 12, or 16 missiles, depending on the configuration. This allows for a more extensive and potent aerial attack capability, enhancing India’s offensive capabilities against enemy installations and defences.

The SAAW already boasts two successful configurations based on satellite navigation and electro-optical (EO) sensors. These previous iterations have proven their effectiveness, with the EO-seeker-based flight test being a first of its kind in India. The EO configuration of the weapon system is equipped with imaging infrared seeker technology, significantly enhancing its precision strike capability. This integration of advanced imaging technology ensures a higher level of accuracy, increasing the weapon’s lethality while minimizing the risk of collateral damage.

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