India’s Missile Capabilities – UPSC GS3

What is the history of missile technology in India?
  • Before Independence: Several kingdoms in India were using rockets as part of their warfare technologies. Mysore ruler Hyder Ali started inducting iron-cased rockets in his army in the mid-18th century.
  • After Independence: At the time of Independence, India did not have any indigenous missile capabilities. The Govt created the Special Weapon Development Team in 1958. This was later expanded and called Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL). It was moved from Delhi to Hyderabad by 1962.
  • Project Devil: It was initiated in 1972 for the development of a medium range Surface-to-Surface Missiles.
  • Integrated Guided Missiles Development Programme (IGMDP): It was conceived by Dr. APJ. Abdul Kalam in 1982 to enable India attain self-sufficiency in the field of missile technology.
What kind of missiles does India have now? 
Type of Missile
Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM)
    • Nag is the “fire-and-forget ATGM with a range of around 20 km.
    • Heli-Nag will be operated from helicopters and will be inducted by 2022
    • Stand-off Anti-Tank (SANT) missile with a range over 10 km.
Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM)
    • Akash is the short-range SAM. It has already been inducted in the Army and the Air Force
    • Akash 1Akash (New generation) and Akash Prime will be inducted in a few years.
Medium-Range SAM
    • Production of MRSAM systems for the Navy is complete, and it is placing its order.
Short-Range SAM
    • For the Navy, the first flight tests have been successfully conducted.
    • Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile(BVRAAM) has been completely tested and is under induction.
    • long-range Astra Missile is also being developed, for which initial tests have been conducted.
    • Rudram is a New Generation Anti-Radiation Missile (NGRAM). It has cleared initial tests
    • BrahMos which India developed jointly with Russia is already operational
    • Supersonic missile-assisted torpedo system was also launched recently.
    • Agni (range around 5,000): It is India’s only contender for an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), which is available with only a few countries.
Short Range  Surface to Surface Missile
    • Prithvi: It is a short-range surface-to-surface missile with a 350 km range.
Anti Satellite System
    • India tested an anti-satellite system in 2019.
Hypersonic Technology
    • India has been working on this for a few years and is just behind the US, Russia and China. DRDO has successfully tested a Hypersonic Technology Demonstrated Vehicle (HSTDV) in 2020. Currently, only Russia has proven its hypersonic missile capability so far.
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