India Flexing Its Missile Muscle By Back To Back Tests

India is flexing its Missile muscle as in less than the month, 7 tests of the missile are carried out by DRDO. There were many tests that were pending due to the lockdown caused by Wuhan Virus. Everyone knows the test is going to be conducted. But the rate at which DRDO is doing the tests seems like they are on a missile testing spree.

Since there are many tests done back to back, let’s have a peek in the chronology of them and know why they were tested.

Missile Test:1 HSTDV

The HSTDV (Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle) was tested on the September 7th, 2020. It was actually the 2nd test of this vehicle. It had Agni Missile boosters for starting the Scramjet Engine. Everyone knows that for starting this engine you need a Ram Pressure that can be archived at the supersonic speeds.

At 11.03 am, Monday, it was fired from Abdul Kalam Launch Complex, Wheeler Island. It archived the altitude 30 Km the booster stage was separated and the scramjet engine was started. It Cruised at the speed of 6 Mach for 20 seconds ( Roughly around 2 km per sec)

This was just a technology demonstrator. Further tests will also be conducted. This test brought India into the Hypersonic club. Only the USA, Russia, and China possess this technology and India is the 4th one. This will serve as a building block of future hypersonic missiles which would be indigenously made.

Missile Test 2 & 3: ATGM (Anti Tank Guided missile)

On 22nd September it was tested from Tank-EX (Chassis of T-72 but turret of the Arjun tank). Here in the official statement, it was stated Arjun Tank but the picture depicted Tank-EX. It was developed with the collaboration of ARDE, IRDE, HEMRL, and DRDO. This test was successful in every parameter. It was conducted in KK ranges, Ahmednagar.

A Successive test was conducted from Arjun MBT( Main Battle Tank) on 1st October. In this, the missile used was Laser-Guided ATGM. It is actually a heat-seeking missile to defeat the Explosive Reactive Armour (Tanks). This has the Range up to 5Km. Here, it can also destroy low flying helicopters also. There might be some further tests on this.

This is actually a very important development because we are seeing in the current clash of Armenia and Azerbaijan that ATGM was very successful. So, for defeating the light tanks on LAC and also Pakistan Tanks on LOC this ATGM could be very useful. And also, since its Laser guided, the determination of source for the enemy would also be hard. Also, it has the capability to launch from Multiple Platforms, so easy integration to other platforms.

Missile Test 4: Prithvi-II

On September 23rd, 2020, the Night Trail of Prithvi-II Nuclear-Capable Surface to surface missile was tested. It was tested from ITR (Integrated test range) Chandipur, Orissa. This was actually a user trail of Prithvi. User trail means a random missile is taken out from the stockpile and tested by SFC (Strategic Force Command). The missile has a range of 250 – 350 km. It can carry a warhead of 500 – 1000 kg. It can also have a conventional warhead.

The user trails are done many times, but the timing of this trail along with the night capability shows that is was done for something.

Missile Test 5: BrahMos-ER

Everyone body knows about this test. A separate article on Brahmos-ER is also written. The test was conducted on September 30, 2020. It was carried out from ITR from Balasore, Orissa from a Mobile Launcher. The Brahmos-ER has the Range of more than 400 km and is a Supersonic Cruise missile.

This test has a domestic airframe and booster. So the next step towards indigenization.

Missile Test 6: Shaurya

On October 3, 2020, the new version of the Shaurya missile was test-fired by DRDO from ITR, Orissa. This missile is actually a nuclear-capable Surface to the Surface missile. It has a range of 700-1900 km and it can carry a warhead of 200 – 1000 kg. It can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads. Also called a land version of the K-15 missile.

One greater capability is that it can be launched in many ways, and if kept in silos it is almost undetectable. This missile reaches a hypersonic speed at the last phase so it causes more destruction. It is said that it officially not inducted but claims are there that it has been inducted and also many silos are made to keep them ready. The missile has also a Quasi Ballistic Trajectory, so it can change trajectory in between the fight.

Missile Test 7: SMART torpedo

Image Credits:- India TV

In the latest development, DRDO also tested the SMART (Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo). The test was done at 11.45 AM from Wheeler Island coast, Orisa on October 5th, 2020. This missile will be used for Anti Submarine Operations. A number of DRDO laboratories, including DRDL, RCI Hyderabad, ADRDE Agra, NSTL Visakhapatnam, have developed the technologies required for SMART.

Mission objectives, including missile flight up to the range and altitude, separation of the nose cone, the release of the Torpedo, and deployment of VRM (Velocity Reduction Mechanism) were tested and were a success. The missile has a range of up to 50-650 Kms it was tested from a mobile launcher. Also, it comes in the category of ALWP (Advanced Light Weight torpedo).

Here there is a torpedo inside the missile. So, after detecting a submarine, a missile is fired from a platform (Could be land-based or water-based like Frigate). The missile will follow its trajectory and read supersonic speed and at last stage, the missile opens up and the torpedo is separated. This torpedo has a parachute attached to it, so it will reduce the speed and torpedo will enter the water. From there, the torpedo removes the parachute, and the rest of the trajectory is done in water, where the torpedo hits the submarine, like other torpedos.

The thought is given that since China outnumbers India in the number of submarines. So this test actually shows the torpedo missile muscle being flexed. This is actually a breakthrough since other torpedoes that India had in the arsenal were having a range of 50 km and Rocket assisted one was around 140 – 150 km. Since it is hybrid it was able to archive the range of 650 km.

Missile Test 8: Rudram

The test was conducted by DRDO from the Sukhoi-30 MKI platform on October 9th,2020 from East Coast. According to the tweet, it was actually a test from ITR, Balasore. The missile is a potent weapon to take down enemy radars and communication networks. It has a passive homing head which helps to detect, classify, and engage target over a wide range of frequency. This will be helpful to bring down air defense systems from a large distance. As In short, it can easily eliminate RF targets.

It is really compatible as in the future it could be fired from  Mirage 2000, Jaguar, HAL Tejas, and HAL Tejas Mark 2. It is said to have a strike range of 100-150 km. And the main achievement here is it is ingeniously made. Weighing about 140 kg it is fired by a Dual Pulse Rocket motor. Along with this, it used NAViC for navigation.


Here, the thing is to be noted that one after another test was done of each force commands. The “SMART” shows the Navy flexing muscle. ATGM for Army. Brahmos, Shaurya, Prithvi for SFC, and Rudram show Air force. We should take pride here, as we developed all these missiles indigenously. Unlike some countries that reverse engineer the fallen missiles. Here, I am talking about Pakistan Reverse engineering Tom-Hawk Missile and making their own missile program. Well, the credibility of this statement is doubted. But if true, reverse engineering would also have been done with the help of China.

All tests were conducted in a very short period of time. Along with this, a NOTAM has also been issued and most probably the next test is possibly going to be of Nirbhay Subsonic Cruise Missile.

Events like this are happening at a time when the Stand-off doesn’t seem to go off. China is already showing its missile capabilities in the South China Sea where it even fired its DF-21 (The carrier Killer). China’s SAM missiles on LAC show that it is not going to budge soon. But to counter that India has installed Brahmos, Nirbhay, and Aakash Missile on LAC.


Nirav Kotak

A Mechanical Engineer and a Defense Enthusiast wanting to share knowledge and learn more from others as well.

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