The SS-14 Lightning Arrow is a shoulder-launched, portable anti-aircraft defence weapon system developed in India. It is the first MANPADS project to be wholly produced and manufactured in India. The system is designed in response to the demand for a new, indigenously-produced portable air-defence weapon system. It is usually operated by a two-man crew; the loader/spotter and the gunner, although it can be operated by a single personnel if necessary. The weapon system is designed with two primary goals in mind; mobility and resistance to the elements. Currently, it is being manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli, India's largest arms manufacturer. Current primary users are the branches of the Indian Armed Forces.
The SS-14 is primarily a laser-guided homing weapon system; the gunner tracks the target and "paints" the target with a laser designator during the acquisition period. After the missile is launched, the gunner must keep the laser pointed towards the target during the final engagement phase. The entire system is constructed from impact-resistant material and coated with a heat and cold-resistant paint that maintains the launch tube and the missile at a manageable tempaerature. Midway through the initial testing stage, it was decided to add a secondary missile guidance system to the launcher using infrared homing system, commonly found on modern-day MANPADS. Tests are currently underway to add anti-armour/bunker-buster capabilities to the weapon system. An experimental anti-armour missile was recently tested, which yielded generally positive results. However, there were many issues and problems that needed to be addressed. Troubleshooting, fixing said problems, and further testing are currently underway.
The weapon system components consist of the launch tube, laser rangefinder, laser designator, infra-red search and track (IRST) camera, rechargable battery packs for the IRST camera, a cooling/heating pack to keep the targeting equipments operational at optimum levels regardless of the weather conditions, and the missile itself. The missile consists of the warhead, IR tracker, associated electronic equipments, and the two-stage rocket motor.
Once the gunner had gained visual on the intended target, the gunner points the laser rangefinder at the target to gain sufficient target information such as airspeed and altitude. Afterwards, the gunner fires the missile. The laser must be kept pointed at the target for the missile to hit. Once the missile is close to the target, the missile's laser seeker will activate and adjust its course to the impact point.
The gunner seeks for the target's heat signature with the IRST camera. Once the heat signature is detected, the IRST camera locks on to the heat signature and the gunner fires the missile. Once the missile leaves the launch tube, the missile's IR seeker activates and guides the missile on the final approach towards its target.
Instead of the usual hard launch procedure, where the missile's rocket motor is ignited inside the launch tube, the missile is launched using the soft launch procedure. The missile is ejected out of the tube before the rocket motor is ignited. This allows for a greater degree of safety for the operators. Once the primary motor is exhausted during the initial launch phase, the second stage rocket motor ignites that carries the missile towards the target during the final targeting phase.
- Weight: 16 kg (35.2 lbs)
- Length: 1.57m (61.81 in.)
- Range: 4.5 km (2.8 miles)
- Crew: 1 (minimum); 2 (operational)
- Diameter: 75mm (2.95 in.)
- Weight: 11 kg (24.25 lb)
- Diameter: 75 mm (2.95 in.)
- Warhead: 7 kg (15.4 lbs) TNT, proximity fuze
Anti-tank variant (experimental)
- Weight: 15 kg (33 lbs)
- Diameter: 75mm (2.95 in.)
- Warhead: 10 kg (22 lbs) HEAT, direct impact