India's missile capability

Contact Counsellor

India's missile capability

  • At a seminar organised by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) last Tuesday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh encouraged scientists to work towards developing hypersonic missile technology.
  • China had demonstrated its hypersonic missile capability with successful tests of a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) which, according to reports, circled the globe but missed its target by just a few kilometres.

History of missile technology in India:

  • Before Independence, several kingdoms in India were using rockets as part of their warfare technologies.
  • Mysore ruler Hyder Ali started inducting iron-cased rockets in his army in the mid-18th century.
  • By the time Hyder’s son Tipu Sultan died, a company of rocketeers was attached to each brigade of his army, which has been estimated at around 5,000 rocket-carrying troops.
  • At the time of Independence, India did not have any indigenous missile capabilities.
  • The government created the Special Weapon Development Team in 1958.
  • This was later expanded and called the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), which moved from Delhi to Hyderabad by 1962.
  • Project Devil for the development of a medium range Surface-to-Surface Missile was initiated in 1972
  • DRDL started working on several missile technologies under the Integrated Guided Missiles Development Programme (IGMDP) by 1982

About Indian missiles:

  • India is considered among the top few nations when it comes to designing and developing missiles indigenously
  • But it is behind the US, China and Russia in terms of range.
  • DRDO is working on multiple varieties of missiles

Surface-to-Air Missiles:

  • A surface-to-air missile (SAM) or ground-to-air missile (GTAM) is a weapon designed to be launched from the Earth to destroy enemy aircraft or other missiles and can be considered as an anti-aircraft defence system in modern armed forces.
  • Trishul: short-range surface to air missiles,range: 9km.
  • Akash Missile: There are three variants at different stages of development, Akash-1S, Akash Mark-II, Akash-NG.
  • Range of Akash -1S: 18 to 30 km,
  • Range of Akash Mk-II: 35 to 40 km
  • Range of Akash-NG: more than 50 km
  • Barak 8: Indo-Israeli surface to Air, range: 100 km ,speed: Mach 2 speed, i.e, twice the speed of sound or 2470 km/hr.

Air-to-air Missiles:

  • It is a missile fired from an aircraft with a motive to damage another aircraft or any airborne object.
  • AAM is either solid fuelled or sometimes liquid-fuelled.
  • It evolved from unguided air to air rockets used during World War-I.
  • MICA: anti-air multi-target, all-weather, fire-and-forget short and medium-range missile system, range: 500 m to 80 km, speed: Mach 4
  • Astra Missile: Developed indigenously by the DRDO, all-weather beyond-visual-range active radar homing air-to-air missile, range: 80-110 ,speed: Mach 4.5 +

Anti-Tank Missile(ATGM):

  • It is a guided missile primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily armoured military vehicles, which can be transported by a single soldier
  • Amogha-1: range: 2.8km, it is under development by Bharat Dynamics at Hyderabad.
  • It is the maiden missile designed and tested by Bharat Dynamics and will be produced in two versions.
  • The land version has already been tested.
  • Nag Missile: also known as 'Prospina' for the land-attack version,
  • Indian third-generation, all-weather, fire and forget, anti-tank guided missile, range: 500m to 20km and have a ten-year maintenance-free shelf life.

Anti-Satellite Missile:

  • A-SAT Missile: India joined an exclusive club of countries that has the capability to hit a target in space as it tested the anti-satellite missile via 'Mission Shakti' in March 2019
  • This test has made India the fourth country, after the US, Russia and China to be able to do so.

Hypersonic technology:

  • India has been working on this for a few years, and is just behind the US, Russia and China.
  • DRDO successfully tested a Hypersonic Technology Demonstrated Vehicle (HSTDV) in September 2020, and demonstrated its hypersonic air-breathing scramjet technology.
  • According to sources, India has developed its own cryogenic engine and demonstrated it in a 23-second flight.
  • India will try to make a hypersonic cruise missile, using HSTDV.
  • India is expected to be able to have a hypersonic weapons system within four years, with medium- to long-range capabilities.