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Indian Sultan fathered rocket science

The ruler's 2 km-range rocket filled with gun powder and guided by a sword blade was the first to be used in a war.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2006 15:30 IST

The erstwhile ruler of Mysore, Tipu Sultan, who tamed the British Army by handing them a humiliating defeat in the 1792 Srirangapatna War, was the first person to invent rocket technology in the world, BrahMos Aerospace CMD and Managing Director Sivathanu Pillai has said.

Speaking to reporters at 'Dariya Daulat,' the summer palace of the 'Mysore Tiger', on the outskirts of this small town on the banks of river Cauvery, he said the 250-mm-long rocket filled with two kg gun powder and guided by a sword blade for a range of 1.5 km to 2 km was the first rocket used in a war and this was made by the ruler and his men.

"This was the beginning of the rocket technology and the contribution of the ruler and his men is unforgettable. How the original idea came to his mind is amazing. Our rocket and missile technology is actually based on the same principle," he explained.

Pillai, who had made significant contribution to the development of Indian missile systems like Agni, Prithvi, Nag, Trishul and Akash, came to this temple town on Thursday following the instructions of President APJ Abdul Kalam to visit the birth place of the first rocket made on this globe. He was on a tour of Karnataka to visit various defence establishments, including the Bharat Earth Movers Limited in Mysore.

He said, "As there are no models of the rockets left in India, I visited Woolwich Artillery Museum in London where a spent rocket and pieces of other weapons used by the King are on display. I will tell the President how innovative our people were in those days. We must celebrate this and tell the world that the birth of rocket indeed took place in Srirangapatna.

"The rocket has a steel chamber and is charged with gun powder. Even today the solid motor of a rocket looks like this. The technology the ruler and his men have developed is amazing. They had developed a launcher from which three rockets could be launched simultaneously. Though not accurate, the rockets were so effective that it spun and hit the British cavalry with deadly effect. This is depicted in a painting in the London museum. In the painting, horses were seen tumbling when hit by the rockets," he added.