Rudram 1 Missile

A range of air-to-surface ground attack and anti-radiation missiles are presently in development by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The Rudram 1 Missile is also known as NGARM (New Generation Anti-Radiation Missile). This missile project is highly regarded by DRDO due to its focus on precision engineering, a critical factor for success in today’s intricate and challenging environments.

The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is diligently involved in the ongoing development of the Anti-Radiation Rudram Missile. This sophisticated weapon system has been meticulously designed to serve the critical function of neutralizing enemy surveillance radars, communication facilities, and subterranean bunkers. Its distinguishing feature lies in its remarkable versatility, as it can be effectively launched from various altitudes while maintaining a considerable stand-off distance.

Currently, the missile is undergoing rigorous testing and the introductory phase. Upon the successful completion of these stages, the production phase will be a collaborative endeavour involving Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL).

Photo Credit: IAF
Photo Credit: IAF / Rudram 1 Missile

India’s inaugural indigenous Anti-Radiation Missile, designed for the specific mission role of Suppression Of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD), is engineered to target ground-based surveillance and fire control radars.

The missile has a cruciform wing surface to boost high mobility and provide consistent aerodynamic properties similar to the ASTRA Beyond-Visual-Range missile, and it is a single-stage missile with dimensions of about 5.5 metres in length and 600 kilogrammes in weight. It uses a dual-pulsed solid rocket engine produced by Premier Explosives Limited with technology licenced from DRDO and a pre-fragmented warhead with an optical proximity fuze.

By April 2012, the Defence Research and Development Laboratory had started the development process. With a budget of 317.2 crores and a target completion date of 2017, the project was formally approved in December 2012. In order to create a tactical, anti-radiation missile for the Indian Air Force (IAF) that is comparable to the AGM-88E HARM, Kh-31P, etc., feasibility studies were conducted in 2012 and 2013.

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In the course of its development, the DRDO has successfully pioneered several essential technologies for the Next-Generation Anti-Radiation Missile (NGARM). These innovations encompass a wide-band passive seeker, a millimetre-wave active seeker, a specifically engineered radome for the seekers, and the incorporation of a dual-pulsed propulsion system. It is important to highlight that these significant technological strides have been informed and enriched by the invaluable experiences gained through the development processes of the ASTRA and Barak 8 missiles.

A Sukhoi Su-30MKI fired the missile on January 25, 2019, over the Gulf of Bengal off the coast of Odisha, and it hit the intended target very accurately. The missile’s accuracy over a 100 km range was within 10 m CEP. The development test validated the aerodynamic capability while demonstrating seeker performance, missile structural integrity, and proper navigation and control system operation. Depending on the altitude, the missile can strike at a distance that is double its planned range. NGARM will also go through a number of carriages and release flight tests to evaluate the effectiveness of the seekers against a variety of targets.

Photo Credit: IAF
Photo Credit: IAF

Following a series of successful trials as of 2022, the Next-Generation Anti-Radiation Missile (NGARM) has reached the stage of readiness for induction. This advanced missile system has been officially designated as Rudram-1 and is currently poised for production pending clearance from the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

According to the report, the strategy is to integrate the missile into the Air Force by 2022 following additional testing. Notably, the missile is equipped with a passive homing head capable of detecting, classifying, and engaging targets across a broad range of programmed frequencies.

Looking ahead to future development, the DRDO has outlined its plans to enhance the missile’s software capabilities, enabling it to effectively engage a wider array of targets across diverse operational conditions. Simultaneously, the organization is working on the creation of a distinct ground-based variant intended for launch from a mobile launcher. Additionally, the DRDO is in the process of developing Rudram-2, boasting a range of 300 kilometres, and an air-to-ground version known as Rudram-3, which will possess an impressive range of 550 kilometres.

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Specifications of Rudram Series NGARM

  • Weight:  600 kg ( 1,300 lb )
  • Length:  18 ft ( 5.5 m )
  • Diameter:  0.4 m
  • Warhead:  Rudram-1: Pre-fragmented, Rudram-2 Anti Radiation: Pre-fragmented, Rudram-2 Ground Attack: Penetration-cum-Blast
    Warhead weight:  Rudram-1: 55 kg (121 lb), Rudram-2 Anti Radiation: 155 kg (342 lb), Rudram-2 Ground Attack: 200 kg (440 lb)
  • Detonation:  Optical Proximity Fuse close to 3 ft distance
  • Engine:  Solid fuel Two Stage Rocket motor
  • Operational range: Rudram-1: 150 km (93 mi), Rudram-2: 300 km (190 mi), Rudram-3: 550 km (340 mi)
  • Speed:  Rudram-1: Mach 2, Rudram-2 and 3: Mach 5.5
  • Guidance:  Rudram-1: Midcourse _ INS with Passive radar homing / Terminal phase _ with Active radar homing  / Rudram-2: Mid-course: INS + SatNav + Passive radar homing, Terminal: IIR homing
  • Accuracy:  Between 4 to 6 meter Circular Error Probable ( CEP )
  • Launch Platform: All Operational Indian Air Force Fighter Jets ( MiG-29UPG, Dassault Mirage 2000S, EPECAT Jaguar, Su-30MKI, and Tejas )

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In conclusion, the Rudram Missile series stands as a testament to India’s unwavering commitment to safeguarding its national security interests and maintaining strategic stability. With its range of variants meticulously designed to meet diverse operational requirements, these missiles have evolved into an indispensable component of India’s defence arsenal. They not only provide a credible deterrent against potential threats but also bolster self-reliance, reducing dependence on foreign-made equipment.

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The advanced technology and precision inherent in the Rudram Missile series enable it to respond effectively to a wide spectrum of security challenges, further solidifying its status as an invaluable asset for the country’s defence forces. As India continues to prioritize its defence modernization efforts, the Rudram Missile series plays a pivotal role in enhancing the nation’s security capabilities.

Photo Credit: akela freedom / ASTRA MISSILE
Photo Credit: Akela Freedom

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