Missiles are the devices that deliver an explosive warhead with great speed and accuracy. They are usually propelled by #rockets or fighter jets. They are powerful elements of a country's defense system. The use of missiles in India can be dated back to the Vedic age, where many warriors have used Astras as missiles. India was left behind in the field of missile technology since the British colonial rule. After many years of independence, India started its IGMDP(Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme) headed by the former president Dr. APJ Abdul Kalaam, more commonly recognized as the Missile man of India.
The IGMDP program began in 1986 at the Defence Research and Development Laboratory(#DRDL). A wide range of missiles including the Agni, the Prithvi, the Trishul, and the Aakash were successfully tested. Today, India finds its place in the list of countries to have developed indigenous missile systems. More lately, India has triumphantly tested its first Next-Generation Anti-Radiation Missile (NGARM), now officially named #Rudram-1, on October 9, 2020. Firstly, let's apprehend what an anti-radiation missile actually is.
Anti-radiation #missiles are generally designed to target and destroy enemy radio emission sources. They are typically designed to work against enemy radar sources and jammers. The early variant of the anti-radiation missile is Blohm & Voss Bv 246. These missiles can be classified as:
The anti-#radiation missile mechanism contains an internal navigational system. It uses the changes in the object's own position. It is a GPS coupled satellite-based system. It has a passive homing head. This system detects, analyses, and attacks the targets over a broad range of frequencies as programmed initially.
Development of Rudram-1
The project was approved in December 2012, with a budget of ₹317.2 crores. The feasibility studies were carried out from 2012-2013. The aim was to build an indigenous anti-radiation missile for the Indian Air Force. By 2014, the design and hardware development of the missile was in great progress. Around May 2016, the first Capacitive Flight Trail(CFT) was performed where the structural capabilities of the aerodynamic vibrations, navigation, and control systems were examined.
The Drop Flight Trail(DFT) was done in December 2016 where the missile was released by Sukhoi Su-30MKI (a multirole air superiority fighter jet) from an altitude of 6.5 Km at a speed of 0.8 Mach. On 18 January 2018, the carriage flight test was performed where the parameters like store separation, control guidance, auto-launch sequence, and propulsion without a seeker were tested and all were successful.
On 25 January 2019, the NGARM was fired from the Sukhoi Su-30MKI off the coast of Odisha and it hit the target with a high degree of accuracy. Ultimately, on the 9th of October 2020, India's first anti-radiation missile, officially named Rudram-1 was tested victoriously from Integrated Test Range(ITR), Balasore.
Features of Rudram-1
The title Rudram means The remover of sorrows.
It is a single-stage Air-to-surface missile.
It weighs 600 Kg and is 5.5 m in length.
It has a launch speed of about 2 Mach which is close to twice the speed of light.
It is powered by a dual-pulses solid rocket motor.
It utilizes a pre-fragmented warhead with an optical proximity fuze.
It has a range of almost 100 Km.
A Millimetre-wave active seeker terminal guidance system is integrated with it.
It is designed to provide tactical air domination in combat.
It crushes radiation-emitting sources such as surveillance radars.
After the target is locked, it is capable of hitting the target precisely even if the radio emission source is switched off in between.
The terminal guidance system sends radio-frequency signals to the locked target. The rebounded signals from the target are processed to determine the position and range. The navigation system guides the missile towards its target. During its course, it continuously takes inputs from sensors and active seeker terminal and they are processed on an on-board computer that produces auto-pilot commands.
Significance in warfare
The development of #Rudram intensifies the Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) capacity of the Indian Air Force(IAF). According to SEAD tactics, the missiles will initially be used to destroy the enemy radars and in the later stages will also be used to save one's own countries aircraft. Their significance is even more increased, given the encounters with the neighboring nations Pakistan and China. Scientists say that modern warfare is usually network-centered and hence, proper vigilance and defense against enemy surveillance is crucial.
DRDO reported that the induction of Rudram-1 into the Air Force would be fulfilled by 2022 after performing few more tests. Further developments are being framed to handle a wide variety of targets under critical conditions. A separate ground-based variant to be launched from a mobile launcher is also under development. Right from the war rockets of Tipu Sultan in the Srirangapatna war of 1792 to the modern age next-generation anti-radiation missiles, India has come a long way in strengthening its missile #technology.