Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully tested an indigenously-built lightweight ‘glide bomb’ at the Integrated Test Range in Odisha’s Chandipur October 2017. Designated as the Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW), the bomb released from the IAF aircraft was guided through precision navigation system. SAAW, an indigenously designed and developed 120 kg. class smart weapon, developed by DRDO, is capable of engaging ground targets with high precision up to a range of 100 kms.
This Smart Anti-Air Field Weapon will lend a supreme power to IAF since its high explosive warhead is capable destroying even the steel reinforced concrete runways from safe distance without putting pilots and aircraft at risk. This SAAW can be launched from JAGUAR which can fly Lo Lo Lo profile by carrying some six such weapons to destroy enemy Runways. The bomb is expected to join the Indian Air Force and Navy active duty aircraft in 2018 or 2019.
“It is a long-range, precision guided Air to Surface weapon and can be launched from Jaguar and Su-30 aircraft. In future, the same can be integrated to the French Rafale aircraft being imported by the IAF,” said the official.
The weapon can easily cover the airways of the entire Pakistan. Major operational bases in Pakistan are located at Rafiqui (Shorkot), Masroor (Karachi), Samungli (Quetta), Minhas (Kamra), Peshawar and PAF Base Mushaf (Sargodha).
IAF also demonstrated more than a dozen of its aircraft touching down and taking off as part of a special drill on a 4km stretch of the Agra-Lucknow Expressway on Tuesday. The jets included three Jaguar Deep penetration strike aircraft, two formations of three aircraft each of Mirage 2000s and two formations of three aircraft each of Sukhoi-30. The two-hour exercise simulated an emergency situation when airbases, the first target of bombs and missiles, won’t be available and highways have to be used as landing strips.
Anti Airfield Weapons of other countries
New generation of smaller and smarter Air-delivered munitions is starting to appear that provides an economically viable ground-attack and low-collateral-damage capability, without compromising the platform’s endurance in the air.
Two other countries the US and Israel are reported to be attempting to develop these weapons. The French also use the Matra Durandal anti-runway penetration bombs — a sort of precursor to the SAAW.
An example of this is the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB). Using a combination of GPS-aided inertial navigation and infrared/radar seekers, the SDB can attack a wide range of above ground targets relatively cheaply. At 250 lbs., four SDBs can be carried in place of one standard 2,000 lb. bomb.
Israel being yet another country as per the sources, which intends to sell these smart bombs and is already into marketing the same, interestingly is also yet to taste success in these weapons.