Prelims 2021 Science & Tech

DRDO has conducted a flurry of missile tests

In News:

  • Over the last one and half months, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has conducted at least 12 tests of missiles or systems for missiles that fulfil a vast range of purposes.
  • These tests have taken place at the time when there is an ongoing conflict between the Indian and Chinese forces along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Ladakh region.
  • Another key reason behind so many tests is that many of these tests, scheduled for earlier this year, had to be put on hold due to COVID restrictions.

About: NAG missile

  • On 22nd October, India successfully carried out the final trial of the Nag anti-tank guided missile (ATGM).
  • After the test, the Nag weapon system was declared ready for induction into the Indian Army.
  • The NAG missile is a third-generation anti-tank guided missile, which has top attack capabilities and can effectively destroy all known enemy tanks during day and night.
  • DRDO has developed this missile under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). Under IGMDP other missiles which have been developed include — Agni, Akash, Trishul and Prithvi.
  • It has been designed in a way that it can be launched from both land and air-based platforms.
  • The land version of the missile is fired from the Nag missile carrier (NAMICA) and can attack targets in the range of 4 kilometres.
  • The missile uses an imaging infra-red seeker to lock on to the target before launch.

About: Helina missile

  • DRDO is also currently in the final stages of the development of the helicopter-launched version of Nag ATGM, called the Helicopter-launched NAG (HELINA).
  • While the range of the land version is 4km, the HELINA can reach up to 7km in Lock On Before Launch (LOBL) mode.
  • HELINA can be fired in two modes i.e. Direct and Top attack. In the top attack mode, the missile is required to climb sharply after launch and travel at a certain altitude, then hit the top of the target.
  • In the direct attack mode, the missile travels at a lower altitude, directly striking the target.
  • Its launch system can be fitted on to the HAL’s Rudra helicopter and on the HAL’s Light Combat helicopters.

About: SANT missile

  • On 19th October, DRDO tested the helicopter launched Stand-off Anti-Tank Missile (SANT).
  • SANT or Standoff Anti-tank Guided Missile is a fourth generation upgraded variant of HELINA missile.
  • It has been developed by DRDO’s research centerImarat, in association with the Indian Air force.
  • It is equipped with a nose-mounted active radar seeker, enabling the launch platform to be located at a safe distance from the target area.
  • It is developed for the Indian Air Force and Army Aviation Corps with Lock-on after launch and Lock-on before launch capabilities and has an extended range of up to 15 km to 20 km (Helina’s range in around 7 km).
  • About: Lock-on before launch and lock-on after launch
  • In lock-on-before-launch, missile operators are required to first identify enemy tanks through the use of thermal imaging.
  • The missile is then launched at the target, and continues to capture target images, continuously cross-checking them with the reference image
  • However, with the lock-on-after-launch capability, missile operators do not need to lock on to the target before firing the missile.
  • It can be launched in the general direction of the target. The missile then scans the area before acquiring a target, locking on to it, and then changing its flight path accordingly.
  • This capability provides the helicopters from which they are fired to avoid defensive fire without sacrificing missile accuracy.
  • However, with a lock-on before launch missile, the helicopter needs to be significantly closer to the target.

About: Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV)

  • On September 7, the DRDO successfully flight tested a Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV), powered by a scramjet engine.
  • Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV), is an unmanned scramjet vehicle with a capability to travel at six times the speed of sound.
  • The test made India only the fourth country in the world after the US, China and Russia to develop and test the technology, that will lead to the development of missiles that will travel at six times the speed of sound.

About: Abhyas

  • On September 22, a flight test of Abhyas, a High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT), was conducted from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) Balasore in Odisha.
  • Abhyas has been developed to be used as a target for evaluation of various missile systems.
  • Abhyas is designed for autonomous flying with the help of an autopilot.

About: Laser-Guided ATGM

  • In another test on September 22, the Laser-Guided Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) was test fired from Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun, where it hit a target at a 3-km range. The test was repeated for a slightly longer range on October 1.
  • This ATGM — which is yet to receive an operational name — is designed to be fired from tanks.
  • With its range limited to 1.5 to 5 kilometers, it locks and tracks the targets with the help of laser to ensure precision in striking the target.
  • The missile has the capacity of piercing armoured vehicles which use specially designed armour plates to counter the impact of such missiles.

About: Prithvi II missile

  • On September 24, a successful night flight test of nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile with a range of around 400 kilometres was tested at the ITR.
  • Prithvi II is a single-stage liquid-fuelled missile. It is capable of carrying 500 to 1,000 kg of warheads, with an extended range of 350 km.
  • The state-of-the-art missile uses an advanced inertial guidance system, that helps to manoeuvre (guide) its trajectory, to hit its target.
  • It has been inducted into India’s Strategic Forces Command in 2003.

About: BrahMos missile

  • On September 30, BrahMos surface-to-surface supersonic Land-Attack Cruise Missile (LACM) was flight tested.
  • On October 17, the Naval version of the BrahMos was successfully test fired from Indian Navy’s indigenously-built INS Chennai.
  • The BrahMos is a medium-range supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft, or land. It is the fastest supersonic cruise missile in the world.

About: Shaurya missile

  • On October 3, DRDO tested another nuclear capable missile Shaurya, which is a land-based version of the Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile Sagarika or K-15.
  • It is a surface-to-surface medium range missile, which has a strike range of 750 to 1,000-km and can reach speeds of 7.5 Mach (seven and half times the speed of sound).
  • The 10 metre-long missile can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads weighing up to 1,000 kilograms.
  • It is equipped with multiple advanced computing technology and high accuracy navigation and sophisticated control and guidance systems.
  • The two-stage missile powered by solid fuel, is so fast that the enemy’s radar will get less than 400 seconds to detect, track, and intercept it.

About: Rudram missile

  • On October 9, India’s first indigenous anti-radiation missile named Rudram, developed for the Air Force (IAF), was successfully flight tested from a Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jet.
  • Rudram is an air-to-surface anti-radiation missile with a speed of Mach two or twice the speed of sound.
  • It is capable of bringing down (attacking) a wide-range of enemy radar systems, communication networks and air defence systems.
  • Its range depends on the height at which the fighter jet is flying. It can be launched from a height ranging from 500 metres to 15 km and can hit radiation emitting targets within a range of 250 km.

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