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Status check : India’s indigenous missile power

Status check : India’s indigenous missile power

India may have developed surface-to-surface nuclear missiles like the Agni-V, which can strike targets over 5,000-km away, but has struggled to develop a complex BVR (beyond visual range) air combat missile like Astra for over a decade now.

Once the all-weather Astra is ready, India will join a handful of countries like the US, Russia, France and Israel which have developed such sleek missiles capable of detecting, tracking and destroying highly-agile, hostile supersonic fighters packed with “counter-measures” at long ranges.

Indian fighters are currently armed with Russian, French and Israeli BVR missiles, which cost a packet in the absence of a cheaper indigenous alternative.

Here we take a look at the status of India’s indigenous missile power…

1] Nuclear: Prithvi-II/Dhanush ::
The single-stage, liquid-propelled Dhanush having 350 km range has already been inducted into the armed forces and is one of the five missiles developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), defence sources said.

2] Agni-I ::
Agni I is an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile. Agni-I uses solid propulsion booster and a liquid propulsion upper stage, derived from Prithvi.

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“The strap-down inertial navigation system adopts explicit guidance, which was attempted for the first time in the world. It uses all carbon composite structure for protecting payload during its re-entry phase,” says DRDO.

The first flight conducted in May 1989, established the re-entry technology and precise guidance to reach the specific target.

Agni-I flight trials having proved the long-range technologies. An operational version of Agni with solid-solid propulsion system was test fired in April 1999.

3] Agni-II is equipped with state-of-the-art navigation system ::
The missile is equipped with a state-of-the-art navigation system with modern techniques for propelling it towards the designated target with accuracy.

It takes only 15 minutes to bring the missile into ready-to-fire mode.

4] Agni-III ::
Agni-III is a 3,000-km range indigenously developed surface-to-surface missile. The launch of the mssile in July 2006 had flopped miserably.

But the subsequent two tests, in April 2007 and May 2008, were deemed successful.

It is capable of carrying a one-tonne nuclear payload. Agni-III missile is powered by a two-stage solid propellant system. With a length of 17 metres, the missile’s diameter is 2 metres and launch weight is around 50 tonnes.

Agni-III: Launch weight is around 50 tonnes.

The missile is equipped with hybrid navigation, guidance and control systems along with advanced on-board computers.

The electronic systems are hardened for higher vibration, thermal and acoustic effects.

5] Agni-IV ::
Will be tested again soon.

Induction in 2-3 years

Agni-IV is a 4,000-km range nuclear-capable Agni-IV ballistic missile. DRDO developed Agni-IV is a long range missile propelled by composite rocket motor technology and this was tested for its full capability.

DRDO sources have said the missile is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics V-12 fifth generation On-Board Computer and with distributed architecture has the latest features to correct and guide for in-flight disturbances.

6] Agni-V ::
Agni-V will be tested again soon.

Induction in 2-3 years

The Agni-5 missile is an advanced long range surface to surface ballistic missile capable of being launched within minutes, from a self-contained road mobile launcher, to deliver payloads to distances in excess of 5000 km.

‘AGNI-V’ is the most advanced version having some new technologies incorporated with it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine.

The missile is 17.5 metre-tall and two metre-wide and can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one tonne. According to DRDO, the Agni-V will be ready for induction into the armed forces by 2014.

With Agni-V, India has joined the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France, which already possess such missiles.

7] Nirbhay Cruise Missile ::
Sub-sonic cruise missile (1,000-km) has failed 3 tests till now

First submarine launched ballistic missile,

Nirbhay is India’s first indigenously designed and developed long range sub-sonic cruise missile, which was successfully tested in October 2014.

8] Conventional: BrahMos ::
Supersonice cruise missile (290-km) Rs 27,000-crore orders already placed. Two Army regiments & 10 warships have got them. Test from Sukhoi-30MKI next year

The 290-km BrahMos flies at a speed of 2.8 Mach and carries a conventional warhead of up to 300 kg.

The missile can be launched from multiple platforms including land, sea, sub-sea and air.

Both the Army and Navy have already inducted the missile in service, while the air-version of the weapon is scheduled to be flight tested by the IAF soon.

According to the DRDO, the missile can be fitted in ships, mobile launchers, submarines and aircraft against land and sea targets. The missile has a maximum velocity of 2.8 Mach and cruises at altitudes varying from 10 metres to 15 km.

BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is capable of hitting sea based targets beyond radar horizons.

9] Equipped with indigenous surface to air supersonic missiles ::
Akash Weapon System (AWS), is an indigenously designed, developed and produced ‘air defence system’ and ‘Weapon Locating Radar’, which is equipped with indigenous surface to air supersonic missiles.

The army version of Akash consists of surveillance and tracking radars, control centres and ground support systems mounted on high mobility vehicles.

Salient features ::
6 Nov, 2015
– arge kill envelope’, can handle multiple threats from different directions
– Cross-country mobility & multi-terrain deployability from sub-zero to desert temperature
– 5.6 m long Akash missile carries 55 kg fragmentation warhead

Developed by DRDO, the Army version of Akash is being produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) as the nodal production agency with the involvement of Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and a large number of other industries.

The total production value of Akash air defence systems cleared for induction by Indian Army and Indian Air force is more than Rs 23,000 crore.

10] Astra air-to-air missile ::
Development to be completed by Dec 2016.

India’s first indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Air-to-Air missile ‘Astra’ was tested successfully recently. The air-launch was captured by side and forward looking high speed cameras.

The indigenously developed missile from the DRDO is an all-weather weapon with active Radar terminal guidance.

The Astra missile was test fired from a Sukhoi Su-30MKI. The missiles have undergone rigorous testing on Su-30 in the captive mode for avionics integration and seeker evaluation in 2013.

11] Nag anti-tank guided missile (4-km) ::
Still not inducted after being 20 years in the making.

Saturday, November 07, 2015
By: ET

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