Indian Missiles

Indian Missile Programs to Self-Reliance

Right from 1980s, India has been trying to develop multitudes of missiles that were seemingly required for its defence forces. The missile systems belonged to different categories that many called a P-A-T-N-A concepts of Prithvi. Agni, Trishul, Nag and Akash. The first two are essentially surface to surface missiles (SSM) to knock out a surface target deep in enemy territories as tactical or strategic defence systems. On the other hand, the latter three could be categorized as various forms of surface to air (SAM,), Air to Air (AAM), Guided missiles against targets on ground (ie Tanks, Air Defense systems etc) or as interceptors against intruding threats. All these missiles could have triads of platforms capable for launch from surface, air (from an aircraft) or water (from Ships or Submarines). On the surface too, smaller missiles have the advantage of being launched from either a fixed base or mobile platforms.

While talking of triads of launch platforms, it is important to realise that some missiles are especially designed and developed to be launched from specific platforms. Although all launch platforms are important, a surface platform doesn’t have too many restrictions. On the other hand, SSM adapted for launch from Air or Ship/Submarines have several restrictions of size, shape, weight, mountings, ignition systems and so on. In addition, the missiles adapted for aircraft must not affect the aerodynamic, CoG of the aircraft and be compatible with avionics system for targeting and initiation. This is extremely crucial.

Technologies in a Missile.A missile has various technologies of systems and sub-systems as shown in the text box. The propulsion system is the one that drives it forward (to a given range) with all its weight incl warhead/payload. Aerodynamic system provides stability, navigation system directing to the exact target within 3-D of given latitude and longitude with minimum possible error. A highly sophisticated Integrated Computing System (ICS) guides the missile to the target, to deliver the weapon/warhead in the desired configuration. A cruise missile has maximum aerodynamic control where as a ballistic one mostly works on the parabola, often going above the Earth’s atmosphere and making re-entry through a pre-determined flight path. The former may be flying extremely low to evade detection. Brahmos, Rudram, Shourya and Nirbhaya belong to the Cruise missile category whereas Prithvi-II, Agni series, Dhanush and K-series of missiles are ballistic missiles. Simpler missiles meant for knocking out a static or moving target may also have relatively simpler ICS and Guidance systems. It could have a visual, Laser, Infrared or Radar/microwave radiation acquired signals for homing (hence called guided missiles) esp against moving targets like mobile artilleries, tanks, aircraft, ships etc.

Some advance missiles also have Electronic Countermeasures (ECM/ECCM) to dodge an anti-missile jamming devices. Stealth technologies leave little or no radar signature for it to be detected by enemies. Some of these missiles can also maneuver their flight to evade interception by anti-missile defense sys.

A missile could fly at sub-sonic (<1 Mach), trans-sonic (1 Mach), supersonic (>1 Mach) or hyper sonic (>5 Mach) speeds. It could employ various technologies for propulsions that may have single or multi-stage solid fuel (without or with ‘Turbo’ functions) for velocities <3 Mach, Ramjet for velocities >3 to <5 Mach or Scramjet technologies for velocities from >5 Mach to 15 Mach. Low flying missiles have mostly lesser velocities with some exceptions though.

A missile may have one or more warhead, conventional one or nuclear. Whereas most of the conventional warhead explode on high velocity impact, nuclear devices are ignited above surface for maximum effects. Nuclear missiles are preferably the ballistic ones, dropping almost vertically. Missiles carrying multiple warheads, may employ a “Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV)” to independently home to their targets.

Hypersonic Propulsion technology could essentially be in two forms firstly, the air breathing Ramjet and Scramjet and secondly, the rocket fuel propulsion system. Most of the cruise missiles have its fuel combustion by the air being sucked from the ambient. However, it has to be an entirely different technology to burn missile fuel at such high speeds. It is like a burning fire which is facilitated by the air being blown. However, if the air mass exceeds certain threshold, the flame could be extinguished too. Hence, the technology has to ensure that the hypersonic speeds has optimum effect on the propulsion system. Rocket/launcher propulsion technology on the other hand, has onboard oxidisers/liquid oxygen that sustains combustion. In the process, its payload carrying capacity is depleted proportionately with the amount of oxygen/oxidiser carried onboard. Hence, the ambient air sucking technology such as Ramjet, Scramjet or some other newer concepts enable the missiles to be high on speeds, range and payload carrying capabilities hastening both its offensive and defensive capabilities.

This technology however, has a drawback too. Higher the velocity, greater will be the skin temperature of the air friction. Such speeds could create the friction temperatures of the missile shell so high that the metals can melt or burn.This mandates the usage of appropriate materials in both missile-body and its payloads. Ballistic missiles that face the similar challenges of very high temperature during its atmospheric re-entry, utilise carbon - carbon materials on its surfaces.

Missiles in Indian Inventories

Short range Trishul, Nag and Akash missiles in various configurations and names are already designed and developed and introduced in defence services. However, continuous upgradations and value additions keep taking place in various system technologies and functions. Advanced versions of shoulder fired missiles (like Javelin anti-tank, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles) with newer concepts is the need of the hour as revealed in Ukraine war. Today, small drones are threatening national security. A credible anti-drone air defense technology has become essential. Advanced medium-to-long range Anti-radiation missiles (AMRAM, Rudram) to knock out enemy Radars and air defense systems especially need advanced ECM/ECCM capabilities that continue various levels of upgraded technologies. Nag series of anti-Tank missiles and Trishul-cum-Akash series of surface to air missiles are already inducted. Of course, upgradation and value additions will have to continue.

In order to make the SSMs more effective, reducing its radar signature or making it fully stealth is another area that make an ongoing R&D a continuous process. On the other hand, a hypersonic missile leaves very little time for the adversaries to react. Agni series of the Indian ICBMs are the one that have highest levels of technological challenges in terms of accuracy, redundancy of systems, stealth, speeds, Countermeasures, strike range etc.

In the recent years esp after Galwan incident, DRDO has achieved several milestones in the design & development and successful trials of series of missiles as well as value additions of some existing ones. The New missiles include Pralay, Rudram, Shourya, Nirbhay, and Agni-P whereas value additions have been made in various surface to Air missiles, Brahmos supersonic missile (with range augmentation and adaptation against ships), surface to surface missiles etc.

Agni-V ICBM Test

Indian Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile program has been making rapid gains in the recent years. While Agni-I to IV are already tested, productionised and believed to have been inducted in service, Agni-V is making rapid progress. This missile having augmented range from 5000 Km to 8000 Km, has undergone several successful trials since 2012. Last year too it was tested successfully on 27 Oct 21, the latest trials with state-of-the-art new technologies was tried out in the night of 15/16 Dec 2022. This upgraded recent missile is believed to be of a 3-stage solid motor system going ‘Hypersonic’. It is another matter though that most of the ballistic missiles go hypersonic during their final phase of flights just before hitting the targets. It is a nuclear capable missile providing India a credible strike capability following a “No First Use” doctrine.

Agni-V missile

By now, Indian ambition of bringing a large part of the global threat under its capability to strike back is proving to be successful with only the American Continent (which is no rogue nation and presently doesn’t pose threat to India) out of its range. However, sea and aircraft based launch capabilities serve as force multiplier, to bring most part of the globe under the range of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Pralay Missile System

Pralay missile development was initiated in 2015 as a canisterised surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) for battlefield use by amalgamating two of the DRDO’s successful ventures called Prithvi-1 and Prahar Ballistic missile technologies. This missile has been designed and developed in a record time on the specifications provided by the Indian Armed Forces. The warhead is especially suitable to penetrate deep into hardened structures like Runways, Blast panes or hardened underground enemy assets. The projectile system used 2-stage high explosive solid fuel developed by DRDO. It uses a navigation system that has high efficacy. The deep penetrating warhead could be anything from 370-700 Kgs. Since all major systems and sub-systems were already proven, the missile had to undergo only limited trials of being fired from mobile launcher (8 x 8 BEML-Tatra transporter erector launcher) that were carried out successfully on 22 & 23 Dec 2021. The trials were very successful for range, payload and navigation with high precision.

Govt of India has cleared the procurement of this missile into the Army all along Indian borders.

Pralay Missile

Newer Technology Missile in India – Agni-Prime

India has successfully tested its first Canister Bodied Ballistic missile initially designed to upgrade its Agni series I, II & III. This technology is in use in Agni-IV & V. Nicknamed Agni-Prime (Agni-P), the first prototype missile was test-fired from Dr Abdul Kalam island on 28 Jun 2021. This is the first missile trial in the year 2021 marred in Covid19.Design & Developed by DRDO, the missile uses a 2-stage solid fuel technology in the canister body, with both stages having their own composite motors. This reduces the number of the smaller parts and also reduces the weight of the projectile…thus increasing the payload carrying capacity. The payload section of the missile can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads that could be provided with the already available technology of a single or multiple releases, MIRV. This means that the multiple warheads can be dropped at different points in its course of travel.


The missile has the laser Gyro actuated inertial navigation system with in-built redundancies that is known for the pinpoint accuracy of the weapon delivery. The present version of the prototype can carry a payload of approx. 1000+ Kg or so, to a distance of 1000-2000 Km. It could replace both the Agni-I & II. The Canister shape design will enable it to be launched from the mobile launcher based railings too.

By virtue of being a Ballistic missile, it has the capability to climb above the atmospheric layers of the earth and then make a decent through the re-entry. The new missile is believed to have a state of the art Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MITV) technology. It is up to the programmed flight path of the missile that it attacks the target through re-entry or directly heads to it with single payload. On these flight profile depends the range.

Advancements in the Missile Technologies in recent years

The last 2 yrs or so has been of phenomenal success for the DRDO in the new missile technologies esp post Galwan incident. Many state-of-the-art technologies have been developed which till now were being imported. Those few months will possibly be written in Golden letters for the DRDO.

New AAMs : Converting New Ramjet Technology in to Product

On 05 Mar 21, DRDO successfully tested an Air to Air Missile (AAM) having a new ‘Ramjet’ technology from their Integrated Test Range Chandipur, Odissa. Till now the indigenous missiles have been using the onboard liquid or chemical oxygen to support the solid fuel combustion in the missiles. These traditional means of combustions have two shortcomings. Firstly, it has limited thrust to propel the missiles to <3 Mach speed and secondly, the on-board fuel oxidiser imposes weight penalty restrict the amount of fuel (hence, its range) and the payload/warhead carrying capacity. The traditional combustion technologies with or without the Turbojet-compressor has sub-sonic to <3 Mach speeds. Ramjet augments the speeds to <5 Mach and Scramjet augments it up to 15 Mach. For missiles at speeds >3 Mach makes it very difficult to be intercepted as there is very little time available to detect, identify and shoot. Further many of the interceptor missiles cannot match the high speeds of the Ramjet missiles. Hence, this technology surely imparts offensive edge. India has acquired both Ramjet and Scramjet technologies but an AAM with the Ramjet technology has been indigenously developed for the first time.


The new Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) technology in the DRDO’s new AAM surely provides a new enhanced capability. It is a nozzle-less booster propelled technology. The development of the new missile by the DRDO had started in 2017 with successful technology demonstrations in 2018 and 2019. As the name implies, the Air to Air missile is launched from an aircraft for varying range against varying modes of target acquisitions and controls.

Medium Range Surface to Air Missile

DRDO test-fired a Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) on 23 Dec 20. It was launched from the Interim Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Orissa from a mobile launcher. DRDO has jointly developed the missile in collaboration with the Israel Aerospace Industries and manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Ltd. The missile has a range of approx 70-90 km with pin-point accuracy at a velocity of 2 Mach. In the current trial, the target was a UAV nick-named ‘Banshee’. The trial was a great success as the missile intercepted a maneuvering air-breathing target that mimicked an attacking combat aircraft. The launching platform for the MRSAM includes a Multi-Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MFSTAR) for detection, tracking and guidance of the missile. It was a direct hit. A number of tracking equipment such as Radar, Telemetry and Electro-Optical Tracking System were deployed to capture the complete data, validating the weapon performance including the destruction of the target.After this trial, as and when the missile is inducted in to the Army, it will provide a huge capability of air defense.

Its Naval version has already been tried out in 2019. If deployed around the international border, its 70-90 km range will enable it to shoot down any in-coming enemy aircraft. It may be recalled that it is the second missile against aerial target tested in the recent weeks. Just over a month back, DRDO had successfully tested its Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) on 13-15 Nov 20 having a killing range of nearly 30 Km horizontal and 15 km vertical range. The two together will highly enhance the defense capabilities of high value ground based asset of the nation against any aerial threat…enemy aircrafts or missiles.

Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM).

On 13 Nov 20, the DRDO tested its newly developed QRSAM missile from the Interim Test Range Chandipur in Orissa. This is a self-contained stand-alone Air Defense System having a mobile Radar with the Missile system. The indigenous radar can pick-up the aerial targets of enemy aircraft within the radius of 100 Km. It identifies the target and confirms whether it is own aircraft or of enemy. The moment target is identified; the missile is launched. The missile has a range of 30 km horizontal and 15 Km Vertical. The mobility of the vehicle provides the freedom of deployment at the most suitable place incl the forward area. This mobility also provides it some degree of freedom in avoiding the anti-radiation missile attack by the enemies. It was a developmental trial by the DRDO and soon it will be offered to the service for the user trials prior to induction. It is possible that this missile can also be accustomed to firing from an aerial platform of aircraft and helicopters. By virtue of being 100% indigenous, it has a great scope of further upgradations. Trial of this missile was carried out successfully once again on 17 Nov 20 from the ITR Chandipur, against a high-performance Jet Unmanned Aerial Target called Banshee, which simulates various high performance aircrafts. The missile entered the terminal active homing guidance to reach the target close enough for its proximity operation of warhead activation to destroy the target. This missile is an excellent development as defense against enemy aircraft and missiles. It is a further step towards Atmnirbhar Bharat..towards our self-reliance in high tech defence technologies.


Rudram anti-Radiation missile.

Rudram has been designed and developed by the DRDO. It picks up the Radar and other Radio & Microwave radiations to lock on. Such targets may include enemy Radars and vital Communication centres. It has a speed of 0.6 to 2 Mach and range of 100-200 km depending from what altitude it has been launched. In the coming months and years, it may undergo some modifications as well that may provide it enhanced capabilities of ECCM as well as modular solid fuel to enhance its range. It will be a ‘Beyond Visual Range (BVR)’ fire and forget missile. If provided with ECCM, it can blind the S-400 Radar systems too of China. It was tested from the eastern Indian coastal area from a SU-30 MKI aircraft on 09 Oct 20. It is a major development. Till now India used to import the Radiation seeking missiles ‘HARM / ALARM’ having 75-150 km range from abroad at a reasonably high cost. The development is a major step towards ‘Atmnirbhar Bharat’.

Rudram 1, 2, 3

Shourya Nuclear capable missile.

DRDO carried out the trials of its upgraded Shourya missile on 03 Oct 20. The missile has a range of 800 Km at a speed of 7.5 Mach approx. The missile can be launched from a mobile canister. It is equipped with multiple advanced computing technology and high accuracy navigation, efficient propulsion, sophisticated control and guidance systems that successfully followed its target in the Bay of Bengal. It was the first user-specific trial of the missile that is a land variant of submarine-launched ballistic missile K-15. The two-stage missile that uses solid propellants, can deceive enemy radars after launch. Once launched, Shourya would be difficult to be tracked by the enemy as the window for detection, tracking and interception is only about 400 seconds. The 10-metre-long missile - weighing 6.2 tons - can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads weighing up to 1,000 kilograms.

Shourya missile

Nirbhay Surface to Surface Cruise missile.

On 01 Oct 20, India test fired its Nirbhay missile successfully. The name suggests that it is fearless of being detected and intercepted. This is a low flying, radar avoiding missile designed and developed by the DRDO. It is a terrain hugging sub-sonic (0.6 Mach) and Sea-skimming missile flying at extremely low altitude to avoid detection by the enemy radars. It is a solid fuel booster missile having a range of about 1000 Km. Following a series of successful trials, the missile is ready for induction in to the service. Nirbhay is an all-weather, long-range subsonic cruise missile capable of carrying large variety of conventional and nuclear warheads. Nirbhay is capable of being launched from land, sea and air. It can carry multiple types of warheads.

Nirbhaya missile

Extended Range Brahmos surface to surface missile.

It was test fired on 30 Sep 20 from the ITR Balasore. The range has been augmented from the standard 290 Km to about 400 Km through the Solid-Fueled, Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) Technology. This reduces the weight of the liquid Oxygen being carried in. Some additional modification augmented the capabilities both in terms of the enhancement of the range as well as the speed. The much higher speed makes it immune to the standard air defense elements of the adversaries and enemies. This new class of cruise missiles will have a solid rocket booster along with supersonic speeds ranging from 2.5 to 3 Mach using SFDR technology. The range of missiles can be decided on the basis of mission objectives using the modular fuel compartment. This missile has pin-point accuracy. Although the standard Brahmos are already deployed with Army, there is no doubt that this indigenous upgradation of the technology will be applied in their upgradations too. This technology was demonstrated earlier in May 2018, and February 2019 too. Now it is likely to go in production. It is a very positive development in the defence technology.

Extended range Brahmos missile

Ship launched Supersonic Brahmos Missile.

India on 18 Oct 20 tested its Brahmos missile for a little different role from the Navy destroyer INS Chennai. It has test fired the Brahmos missile which has the capability to destroy enemy targets on the (water) surface too with pinpoint accuracy. Having a range far in excess of its standard 290 Km, Brahmos now is operationalised for launch from all platforms of the Armed forces…Surface, Aircraft (as below), Submarine and now the Ship. This missile travels at 2.8 Mach speed and defies many of air defense systems.

Ship launched Brahmos

Air-launched BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.

Indian Air Force test fired a long range Brahmos supersonic cruise missile from its SU-30 MKI aircraft on 30 Oct 20. The missile has a range of 400 Km.In principle, it is the same series of the cruise missile that was earlier test fired from INS Chennai on 18 Oct 20 (as above). The target was 400 Km away off the Bay of Bengal and the missile hit the target with pin-point precision. This trial also re-confirms the Brahmos capability to travel the distance as well as hit the target on the ground or water surface with absolute precision through acquired imagery of the target. The integration of the air-launched version of the BrahMos missile with the SU-30MKI fighter has been done fully indigenously, jointly by BrahMos Aerospace, HAL and the Indian Air Force. As late as on 29 Dec 22, another extended range anti-ship Brahmos missile has been tested, launched from SU-30 aircraft with pinpoint accuracy. This missile can destroy very large ships such as aircraft carriers, massive ships or corvettes, evading the strong enemy air defense systems of the Aircraft carrier or composite Naval fleets.

Laser-guided anti-tank guided missile (ATGM).

An advanced ATGM was test fired with pin-point accuracy at the Ahmednagar test range from the MBT Arjun tank. The missile employs a tandem High-Explosive Anti-Tank [HEAT] warhead to penetrate and destroy the Explosive Reactive Armour [ERA] protected armoured vehicles like tanks and the APCs. This laser guided ATG has pin-point accuracy having a range from 1.5 Km to 5 Km. The trial carried out on 23 Sep 20 was at 3 Km target and the other on 01 Oct 20, had longer range target for acquisition and destruction. This missile has the capability to be launched from aerial platform of ground support aircraft as well which will be tried out in the coming weeks and months.


Stand-off Anti-tank (SANT) Missile.

India on 19 October 20 successfully test fired the Stand-off Anti-Tank Missile off the coast of Odisha. Going a step further from its ATGM tested nearly a month back, this is an advanced technology “fire & forget” anti-tank missile at the battle-field. This missile has been Developed by DRDO for the Indian Air Force (IAF) ground support aircraft to enable it destroy the enemy armoured power. The SANT missile has both ‘Lock-on After Launch’ and ‘Lock-on Before Launch’ capability. It also has the IR seeking capability. The missile was fired from a rotary aerial platform.

SANT missile

It is an upgraded version of HeliNa (Helicopter Launched Nag) anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) with a range of 15-20 Km with pin-point accuracy. The missile will enter service with the IAF and Army Aviation Corps on board Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) and weaponized variant of Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), the Rudra ALH-WSI (Weapon System Integrated).DRDO and Indian Army went a step further on 21 Oct 20 in testing this ‘Nag’ missile from Nag Missile Carrier (NAMICA) in Pokhran range with active warhead with pin-point accuracy. Thus, this missile is capable of being launched from all terrestrial and aerial platforms. The missile will be produced by defence PSU Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), whereas Ordnance Factory Medak will produce the NAMICA (in Picture). With the highly satisfactory trials of both ATGM and SANT having pin-point accuracies, India has achieved both day & night capabilities to take on to the enemy Tanks in the battle fields. Till now India used to import the anti-tank missiles.

Supersonic Missile-Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART).

India tested a newly innovated SMART missile system on 05 Oct 20. The Torpedo is incorporated in a missile system that gives it an enormous range of up to 650 Km…far up to beyond the usual 25 Km of conventional Torpedo. It can be launched from all platforms at the land, Sea and Air. It is a very unique Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) technology not possessed by anyone else. It will be extremely useful in the Indian ocean amidst growing threat of the PLA Navy activities. There is no known analogue to the SMART in the world today. Russian 91RE1 & 91RTE2 and the American RUM-125 (sea lance) are understood to be similar in concept but far short in both range and accuracy. It is a cutting-edge technology for India.

SMART missile

Night Strike Capable Prithvi-II surface to surface missile.

This is a Short-Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM). It was the second ‘in-use’ night trial of this missile after 23 Sep 20 from a random sample from the deployed lot. The missile having a range of approx 350 Km, has capability to carry up to 1000 kg payload. It is nuclear capable. The test was carried out at the ITR Orissa. All test parameters and objectives were met. The test reconfirms the trajectory and pin-point payload delivery through its inertial navigation system.

Prithvi-II missile

Abhyas High Speed Target for missile testing.

On 22 Sept 20, DRDO conducted a successful flight test of ABHYAS – A High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) from the Interim Test Range, Balasore. The high-speed target is required to test the surface to air missiles against an incoming aircraft or a missile. ABHYAS can be programmed to provide varying sizes of radar signatures…of either different types of enemy aircraft or the missile. It is launched using a twin underslung booster and is powered by a small gas turbine engine. It has a MEMS-based Inertial Navigation System (INS) for navigation along with the Flight Control Computer (FCC) for guidance and control. The vehicle is programmed for fully autonomous flight while check out of air vehicle is done using laptop-based Ground Control Station (GCS). During the test campaign, the user requirement of 5 km flying altitude, at speed of 0.5 Mach, an endurance of 30 minutes and 2-G turn capability of the test vehicle, were all successfully achieved. It is an important realistic platform to test the efficacies of the various categories of anti-aircraft or anti-missile Air Defence systems. Till now a slow speed towed aerial target was being used. It is a vastly improved testing tool.

Abhyas target system

Scramjet Hypersonic missile technology.

India test fired its indigenously developed Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle (HTDV) powered by a Scramjet Engine from Dr Abdul Kalam Island off Orissa coast on 08 Sep 20. Scramjet technologies are capable of flying at speeds above 5 Mach up to 15 Mach. Scramjet ignitions usually start only beyond 1.5 Mach. This initial speed was achieved by using the in-use Solid Propellant Rocket motor of Agni ballistic missile technology. All the test parameters were achieved… with 6 Mach speed with anticipated induction to scramjet that flew the veh for nearly 25 sec. All parameters monitored were within the normal range. With this, India has joined the exclusive Scramjet club as 4th member after US, Russia and China. It is extremely difficult to detect, track and intercept such high-speed cruise missiles as very little reaction time is available.

Scramjet Tech Demo

Hypersonic Missiles and India

Missile technologies all over the world has been leap-frogging esp in the last 2-3 decades. The erstwhile ground to air and ground to ground missiles have much more teeth both in terms of offensive capabilities as well as being self-defensive. The higher capabilities are in the form of higher payload carrying, multiple target acquisition, guided by precision navigation and greater range. On the other hand, these missiles have become much faster and becoming stealth evading detection by the enemy air defense systems.

A Hypersonic missile is the one which has cruise speeds of >5 Mach. It could be low (5-8 Mach) or high hypersonic speeds in excess of 8-12 Mach. These speeds render very less time to the enemies to react and launch air defense measures. Further, both conventional and advanced air defense systems are often unable to match the hypersonic speeds unable to strike from behind. Hypersonic missile attacks are highly penetrative and effective.

Recent Developments.Russia is understood to be possessing reasonable stocks of advanced hypersonic missiles with hybrid launch capabilities. The same was demonstrated last month in Ukraine war.

China tested its first Hypersonic missile on 25 Jun 2021 followed by another test on 13 Aug 2021. They are at the threshold of mastering the technology integration in to their missile body. US’s first prototype Hypersonic missile is understood to have failed. Second Prototype was tested successfully in the 2nd week of Oct 21. Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies are jointly developing these hypersonic weapon capabilities.

Russia fires Hypersonic missile in Ukraine

India too has already demonstrated its capability for the hypersonic technology in the recent years. It carried out its Hypersonic Missile Technology Demonstration successfully in June 2019, September 2020 and Oct-Dec 2021. The Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) equipped with Scramjet engine has measured ~7500 kmph speeds. In fact, Shourya cruise missile already has been given the Hypersonic Capability of ~7.5 Mach speed towards its end of flight in order to have maximum efficacy and Agni-V too has this feature. The global race is on.

Indian missile program had made a modest beginning in the 1980s but the progress was anything but satisfactory. Till the first decade of the current century, India was lagging on the advanced technologies as well as on advanced a\state-of-the-art products. However, in the last 12-15 yrs, there have been rapid strides. Modi govt brought the vision of self-reliance but it was the spark of Indo-China clash at Galwan that made the DRDO to take unprecedented lead in making India self-reliant in the missile technologies…almost at par with the best in the world. The achievements of DRDO in the last 3 yrs are laudable.

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