QRSAM Missile System

The QRSAM Missile System, a product of India’s DRDO, showcases a state-of-the-art innovation in missile technology. It features a dual four-walled radar system, providing comprehensive 360-degree coverage. This evolving technology is designed to surpass even hypersonic weapons within the Earth’s atmosphere, serving as a swift and robust defence mechanism against potential threats posed by India’s adversaries.

The QRSAM (Quick Reaction Surface-To-Air Missile) System is specifically designed to protect mobile armoured units from aerial threats. This system was collaboratively developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) to bolster the Indian Army’s defence capabilities. It features the Active Array Battery Surveillance Radar and the Active Array Battery Multifunction Radar, along with a launcher. Additionally, the inclusion of a laser proximity fuze ensures that the missile is immune to jamming.

Key features of the QRSAM system include its solid-fueled, canister-launched missiles with active radar homing and an indigenous seeker, which enables accurate target tracking and interception. The missile has a range of approximately 25+ kilometres and is equipped with advanced technologies to counter electronic countermeasures.

QRSAM has found its place in the Indian Army’s arsenal as a vital component of its air defence capabilities, providing a reliable defence shield against low-altitude aerial threats, and bolstering national security and defence preparedness.

Photo Credit: AirPra
Photo Credit: AirPra@Aero India 2023

Unveiling the Triumph of QRSAM Development

The QRSAM boasts a fully automated command and control system. In a strategic move to replace its outdated Russian Osa-AK and Kvadrat missile systems, the Indian Army received approval from the Ministry of Defence in 2007 to initiate a program for the procurement of quick-reaction surface-to-air missiles.

The Ashok Leyland Defence Systems 8×8 truck is integrated with a compact and highly mobile air defence system, designed to provide comprehensive defence coverage. Furthermore, the Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) for this system was developed by Larsen & Toubro. Each launcher is capable of carrying six missiles and offers a total of six target selections.

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The QRSAM possesses advanced capabilities for electronic countermeasures to prevent jamming. It employs solid propellants to propel its single-stage missile. The missile is equipped with a terminal active radar seeker, developed by the DRDO, along with a midcourse inertial navigation system that features a two-way data link.

The missile’s laser proximity fuze was innovatively designed by the Instruments Research and Development Organization to enhance precision while reducing vulnerability to jamming. This technology is adept at detecting and tracking moving targets, contributing to its effectiveness.

QRSAM Missile System
QRSAM Missile System

It is equipped with a comprehensive automated command and control system, enabling seamless target acquisition and fire control. The Active Array Battery Multifunction Radar and Active Array Battery Surveillance Radar, developed by Bharat Electronics Limited, are both four-walled radars that provide full 360-degree coverage for surveillance and fire control. Remarkably, the QRSAM is capable of intercepting targets flying at altitudes of up to 10 km from distances of up to 30 km.

The initial test launch of the missile occurred on June 4, 2017, followed by a successful second test on July 3, 2017. According to the DRDO, the QRSAM currently incorporates 90% indigenous components, with a projected incremental increase to 99%.

Since then, 13 tests have been conducted off the coast of Odisha until 2023. During these tests, the QRSAM demonstrated its ability to rapidly fire volleys of salvos at both long-range, medium-altitude, and short-range, high-altitude aerial targets while maintaining pinpoint accuracy. All the tests were carried out using domestically manufactured subsystems, which include multifunctional radars, mobile launchers, automated command and control systems, and radars equipped with radio-frequency seekers for missiles.

Photo Credit: BDL
Photo Credit: BDL

As of September 22, 2022, The Economic Times reported that concerns had arisen regarding the system’s capability to monitor, detect, and engage targets at low altitudes and short distances. Consequently, the program remains in the trial and development phase until it receives approval and certification for mass production, as of 2023.

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 Salient Features In Short:

  • The Radars are four walls active array with the capability of searching & Track on the move
  • Command & Control on the move
  • Radio & Satellite Communication on the move
  • Engagement of All Aerial targets including Low RCS targets
  • The Quick Reaction time of weapon systems for target engagement
Photo Credit: DRDO / QRSAM 1RNB6
Photo Credit: DRDO / On July 3, 2017, the DRDO’s Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) was successfully flight tested from ITR Chandipur off the coast of Odisha.
Expected Specifications for the QRSAM (as of 2023)
  • Weight: 270 kg ( 600 lb )
  • Length:  14.2 ft ( 4.33 m )
  • Diameter:  220 mm
  • Warhead:  High Explosive Pre-fragmented ( HMX / TNT ), weighing 32 kg ( 71 lb )
  • Detonation:  Optical proximity fuse
  • Engine:  Solid propellant rocket
  • Range:  Minimum 3 km ( 1.86 mi ) to a maximum of 30 km ( 18.64 mi )
  • The altitude of the flight:  Minimum 30 m ( 98 ft ) to 14 km ( 46,000 ft )
  • Speed:  Mach 4.7
  • GuidanceMid-course: Inertial navigation system with two-way datalink / Terminal: Active radar homing
  • Accuracy:  up to 95%
  • Launch Platform: A 6-tube launcher is installed on heavy mobility vehicles such as the 8×8 Ashok Leyland or Tata Motors, ensuring a reliable platform for the QRSAM system
Photo Credit: DRDO
Photo Credit: DRDO

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In conclusion, the Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QRSAM) is a cutting-edge air defence system developed by India, designed to swiftly respond to a wide array of aerial threats. With its impressive mobility, advanced radar homing technology, and substantial range, QRSAM stands as a formidable asset in the Indian Army’s efforts to safeguard the nation’s airspace.

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This system not only bolsters India’s defence capabilities but also serves as a testament to the nation’s commitment to self-reliance and indigenous technological advancements in the field of military defence. QRSAM exemplifies the constant pursuit of innovation and readiness in the ever-evolving landscape of national security, making it a critical component in India’s efforts to protect its sovereignty and ensure the safety of its citizens.

Photo Credit: DRDO
Photo Credit: DRDO

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