Integrated Guided Missile Development Program

An Agni-II during the Republic Day Parade in 2004

The Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) was an Indian Ministry of Defence program between the early 1980s and 2007 for the development of a comprehensive range of missiles, including the intermediate range Agni missile (Surface to Surface), and short range missiles such as the Prithvi ballistic missile (Surface to Surface), Akash missile (Surface to Air), Astra missile (Air to Air), Trishul missile (Surface to Air) and Nag Missile (Anti Tank). The program was managed by Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in partnership with other Indian government labs and research centres. One of the most prominent chief engineers on the project, Dr. Abdul Kalam went on to become the President of India.[1]

The project was started in early 1980s and resulted in the development of several key strategic missiles. The last major missile developed under the program was Agni 3 intermediate-range ballistic missile which was successfully tested on 9 July 2007.[2] On 8 January 2008, and after the third test of Agni-3 on 7 May 2008, the DRDO announced that it will be closing the IGMDP program formally since most of the missiles in the program have been developed and inducted into Indian armed forces.[3] According to a statement by Dr. S Prahlada, a DRDO Director, new missile and weapons systems will be developed in new five-year programs and include both Indian private industries as well as foreign partners to lower costs. DRDO has independently continued further development work on Nag and Surya missile.[4] In addition, the DRDO is also developing a laser-based weapon system as part of its ballistic missile defense program to intercept and destroy missiles soon after they are launched towards the country.[5]

In 2008, India noted that the strategic integrated guided missile program was completed with its design objectives achieved. Follow on strategic projects are being either pursued singly (e.g. Agni project) whereas tactical systems could involve joint ventures with even foreign partners.[6]

Contents

Missiles in Indian history

Tipu Sultan's troops rout the British using rockets in 1780 at the Battle of Guntur. The closely massed, British troops broke and ran when the Mysore army laid down a rocket barrage in their midst.

The use of rockets and missiles by Indians in modern times dates back to the 18th century, during the period of ruler Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. Fighting the British East India company, Tipu Sultan's Army used variety of rockets in supporting role (see Tipu Sultan). It was the world's first use of rockets for fighting modern wars which was later developed further by the British against French.[7] In the Second Anglo-Mysore war, at the Battle of Pollilur (10 September 1780), an entire British detachment led by Colonel Baillie was destroyed resulting in 3,820 soldiers being taken prisoner including Colonel Baillie. At the Battle of Srirangapattana in 1792, Mysorean soldiers launched a barrage of rockets against British troops, followed by an assault of 36,000 men. Later at the battle of Srirangapattana during the fourth Anglo-Mysore war, in April 1799, British forces retreated from the battlefield when attacked by rockets and musket fire of Tipu Sultan's army.[8]

Tipu's rockets had been fully integrated into his Army, which were under special Rocket Brigades called Kushoons. These were extremely effective in battle, inflicting losses on British forces. These rockets were later re-engineered by William Congreve and known in Britain as Congreve Rockets.

Twentieth century

In the twentieth century, the government of independent India embarked on a number of plans to develop missiles which would strengthen India's defences. In 1958, the government constituted the Special Weapons Development Team which would later become the Defence Research and Development Laboratories (DRDL), to undertake the development of first-generation anti-tank missiles. In the 1970s, the Indian government decided to manufacture anti-tank missiles under license from France. At the same time, DRDL was entrusted with two other projects: Project Valiant, which involved the development of a long-range ballistic missile; and Project devil, which was aimed at reverse engineering the Soviet SA-2 surface-to-air missile. Both projects were terminated prematurely; Project Valiant was terminated in 1974 and Project Devil met the same fate in 1980.[9]

However, by this time, DRDL had developed some infrastructure and facilities to undertake the design and development of missiles. In 1983, under the experience and leadership of Dr. Abdul Kalam, who had previously been the project director for the SLV-3 programme at ISRO, the Indian government revived the missile program as an Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP). As part of this program, the Interim Test Range at Balasore in Orissa was developed for missile testing.

India on Tuesday 07 may, 2008 announced the closing of the strategic integrated guided missile programme, and said the development and production of most of futuristic weapons systems would henceforth be taken up with foreign partnerships.[6]

The main aim of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program was to develop, a missile in five different categories simultaneously, namely: a short-range surface-to-air missile (codenamed Trishul), a medium-range surface-to-air missile (codenamed Akash), a third-generation anti-tank guided missile (codenamed Nag), a short-range surface-to-surface missile (codenamed Prithvi), and an intermediate-range surface-to-surface missile (codenamed Agni).[10]

There were a number of failures and successes, which led to an expansion of the program in the 1990s, to develop the long range Agni missile, a ballistic missile (codenamed Sagarika), which would be the naval version of the Prithvi, and an inter-continental-ballistic-missile (codenamed Surya missile) with a range of 8,000-12,000 km.[11]

In 1998, the Government of India, signed an agreement with Russia to design, develop, manufacture and market a Supersonic Cruise Missile System which has been successfully accomplished by 2006. BrahMos is a supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land. At speeds of Mach 2.5 to 2.8, it is the world's fastest cruise missile and is about three and a half times faster than the American subsonic Harpoon cruise missile. BAPL is contemplating a hypersonic Mach 8 version of the missile, named as the BrahMos II. BrahMos II will be the first hypersonic cruise missile and is expected to be ready by 2012-13. The laboratory testing of the missile has started.(codenamed BrahMos).[12]

Missiles of Agni and Prithvi Series

Missile Type Warhead Payload (kg) Range (km) Dimensions (m) Fuel/Stages Weight (kg) In service CEP (m)
Prithvi-I Tactical Nuclear,HE,submunitions,FAE,chemical 1,000 150 8.55X1.1 Single stage Liquid 4,400 1988 30-50
Prithvi-II Tactical Nuclear,HE,submunitions,FAE,chemical 350-750 350 8.55X1.1 Single stage Liquid 4,600 1996 10-15
Prithvi-III Tactical Nuclear,HE,submunitions,FAE,chemical 500-1,000 350-600 8.55X1 Single stage Solid 5,600 2004 10-15
Agni-I Strategic Nuclear,HE,penetration,sub-munitions,FAE 1,000 700-800 15X1 Single stage Solid 12,000 2002 25
Agni-II Strategic Nuclear,HE,penetration,sub-munitions,FAE 750-1,000 2,000-3,000 20X1 Two and half stage Solid 16,000 1999 30
Agni-III Strategic Nuclear,HE,penetration,sub-munitions,FAE 2,000-2,500 3,500-5,000 17X2 Two stage Solid 44,000 2011 40
Agni-V Strategic Nuclear,HE,penetration,sub-munitions,FAE N/A 3-10 MIRV 5,000-6,000 N/A Three Stage Solid N/A To be tested N/A

Agni missile system

The Agni missile (Sanskrit: अग्नि, Agnī, root of English ignite) is a family of Medium to Intercontinental range ballistic missiles developed by DRDO of India. The initial Technology demonstrator version had a range of 1500 km but were based on a solid and a liquid stage making for long preparation before firing. Learning from this the production variants of Agni are solid fuel based to allow for swift retaliation against adversaries.[13] Indian government stated in its official press release that its nuclear and missile development programmes are not Pakistan-centric. That the Pakistani threat is only a marginal factor in New Delhi's security calculus and Agni is at the heart of deterrence in the larger context of Sino-Indian equation.[14] Missiles of Agni series are developed by DRDO and manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited.

Agni-I

Agni-I, a single stage solid fueled missile of 700-900 km range, was the first missile of the Agni family. It is both rail and road mobile.[15] Agni-I was tested at the Interim Test Range in Chandipur in 1989, and can carry a nuclear payload of 1,000 kg (2,200 lb).

Agni-II

Agni-II a two and a half stage, solid fueled missile with a range of 2000-3000 km, was tested on 11 April 1999 from a converted rail carriage. Being rail and road mobile significantly reduces it vulnerability to first strike. Later versions of Agni-II feature an maneuvering re-entry vehicle and increased accuracy flex nozzle in second stage which enables alterations in the thrust vector direction. Agni-II can carry a nuclear payload of 1000 kg.

Agni-III

Agni-III is the third in the Agni series of missiles with an two stage solid propulsion and an striking range of 3500-5000 km.[16] Agni-III was tested for the first time on July 9, 2006 and was Inducted in June 2011. It has a low CEP of 40m making it most sophisticated and accurate missile in its range class.[17] Agni-III reportedly carries ABM countermeasures such as decoys and maneuvering warhead.[18]


Agni-V

A new missile Agni-V with 5,000 km range and MIRV is being developed and is scheduled to be tested "before December 2011". Agni-V shares the similar design as Agni-III with an extra stage added to further increase the range by 1500 km.[19] Agni-V will be road mobile and it has been stated that all Indians missile developed after this will be road mobile as well.

Prithvi missile system

The Prithvi missile (from Sanskrit पृथ्वी pṛthvī "Earth") is a family of tactical surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) developed by DRDO of India under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. The Prithvi was India's first indigenously developed ballistic missile. Development of the Prithvi began in 1983, and it was first test-fired on February 25, 1988 from Sriharikota, SHAR Centre, Pottisreeramulu Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh. It has a range of up to 150 to 300 km. The land variant is called Prithvi while the naval operational variant of Prithvi I and Prithvi II class missiles are codenamed Dhanush (meaning Bow). Both variants are used for surface targets.

The Prithvi is said to have its propulsion technology derived from the Soviet SA-2 surface-to-air missile.[20][21] Variants make use of either liquid or both liquid and solid fuels. Developed as a battlefield missile, it could carry a nuclear warhead in its role as a tactical nuclear weapon.

Variants of Prithvi

Test flight of the Prithvi SS-150

The initial project framework of the IGMDP envisioned the Prithvi missile as a short-range ballistic missile with variants for the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy.[22]

There have been 5 known variants of the missile over the years.[23]

  • Prithvi I - First version developed in the 1990s for the Army (150 km range with a payload of 1,000 kg)
  • Prithvi II - Version for the Air Force developed in the 1990s (250 km range with a payload of 500 kg)
  • Prithvi III - Versions for the Army and Air Force first tested in 2004 (350 km range with a payload of 1,000 kg)
  • Sagarika - Submarine-launched variant intended for nuclear-powered submarines
  • Dhanush - Ship-launched version first tested in 2000 (350 km range with a payload of 1,000 kg)

Over the years the Prithvi missile specifications have undergone a number of changes. The Prithvi I class of missiles were inducted into the Indian Army in 1994, while Prithvi II with an extended range were being inducted in 2006.

Prithvi I

Prithvi I (SS-150) was a single stage liquid-fuelled surface-to-surface missile with a maximum warhead payload of 1,000 kg and a range of 150 km. It had an accuracy of 10 – 50 metres and was launched from transporter erector launchers. This class of Prithvi missiles were inducted into the Indian Army in 1994.[23]

Prithvi II

Prithvi II class was a single stage liquid-fuelled missile with maximum payload of 300 kg, but with an extended range of 250 kilometres. It was developed with the Indian Air Force being the primary user. It was first test-fired on January 27, 1996 and the development stages were completed in 2004. The Prithvi II class of missiles were inducted into the Army as well as the Air Force.[24]

Prithvi III

Prithvi III class has a longer-range of 350 km, and was successfully test fired in 2004.[23]

Sagarika

The K-15 Sagarika (Sanskrit: सागिरका meaning Oceanic) missile is a submarine-launched variant of the Prithvi missile with a range of 700 km.[25][26] Sagarika is a two-stage surface-to-surface missile for launch from submarines. The first stage is an underwater booster that powers the missile to 5 km above the surface of the ocean. A second solid-fueled stage with a 16 metric ton force (157 kN) thrust motor then propels the missile over 700 km.[25]

Dhanush

Dhanush is a ship-launched variant of the Prithvi missile. The first test for the missile was conducted from a modified offshore patrol vessel INS Subhadra (P51) on 11 April 2000, which was unsuccessful. Further tests of the missile were successfully conducted between 2000 and 2004. In December 2005, the missile was test fired from the destroyer INS Rajput (D51) with a range of 150 km. An enhanced version with a range of 350 km was successfully test fired from INS Subhadra in December 2009.[23][27][28][29][30]

Pradyumna Ballistic Missile Interceptor

The Prithvi Air Defense missile has been named as Pradyumna Ballistic Missile Interceptor. It has an maximum interception altitude of 80 km and is capable of engaging the 300 to 2,000 km class of ballistic missiles at a speed of Mach 5.[31][32] DRDO is currently working on an missile for intercepting targets of 5,000+ km range and engaging them at altitudes of up to 150 km.The tests are expected to commence from 2010-11.[33]

Akash missile system

An Akash missile being test fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur, Orissa. The launch platform is a BMP-2 vehicle

Akash (Sanskrit: आकाश meaning Sky) is a medium range surface-to-air missile developed as part of India's Integrated Guided Missile Development Program to achieve self-sufficiency in the area of surface-to-air missiles. It is the most expensive missile project ever undertaken by the Union government in the 20th century. Development costs skyrocketed to almost US$120 million which is far more than other similar systems.[34]

Akash is a medium-range surface-to-air missile with an intercept range of 30 km. It has a launch weight of 720 kg, a diameter of 35 cm and a length of 5.8 metres. Akash flies at supersonic speed, reaching around Mach 2.5. It can reach an altitude of 18 km. A digital proximity fuse is coupled with a 55 kg pre-fragmented warhead, while the safety arming and detonation mechanism enables a controlled detonation sequence. A self-destruct device is also integrated. It is propelled by a solid fuelled booster stage. The missile has a terminal guidance system capable of working through electronic countermeasures. The entire Akash SAM system allows for attacking multiple targets (up to 4 per Battery). The Akash missile's use of ramjet propulsion system allows it to maintain its speed without deceleration, unlike the Patriot missiles.[35] The missile is supported by a multi-target and multi-function phased array fire control radar called the 'Rajendra' with a range of about 80 km in search, and 60 km in terms of engagement.[36]

The missile is completely guided by the Radar, without any active guidance of its own. This allows it greater capability against jamming as the aircraft self protection jammer would have to work against the high power Rajendra, and the aircraft being attacked is not alerted by any terminal seeker on the Akash itself.

Design of the missile is similar to that of the SA-6 with four long tube ramjet inlet ducts mounted mid-body between wings. For pitch/yaw control four clipped triangular moving wings are mounted on mid-body. For roll control four inline clipped delta fins with ailerons are mounted before the tail. However, internal schema shows a completely modernised layout, including an Onboard computer with special optimized trajectories, and an all digital Proximity fuse.

The Akash system meant for the Army uses the T-72 tank chassis for its launcher and radar vehicles. The Rajendra derivative for the Army is called the Battery Level Radar-III. The Air Force version uses an Ashok Leyland truck platform to tow the missile launcher, while the Radar is on a BMP-2 chassis and is called the Battery Level Radar-II. In either case, the launchers carry three ready-to-fire Akash missiles each. The launchers are automated, autonomous and networked to a command post and the guidance radar. They are slewable in azimuth and elevation. The Akash system can be deployed by rail, road or air.

The first test flight of Akash missile was conducted in 1990, with development flights up to March 1997.

The IAF has initiated the process to induct the Akash and Trishul surface-to-air missiles developed as a part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. The Multiple target handling capability of Akash weapon system was demonstrated by live firing in a C4I environment during the trials. Two Akash missiles intercepted two fast moving targets in simultaneous engagement mode in 2005 itself. The Akash System's 3-D central acquisition radar (3-D car) group mode performance was then fully established.[37][38]

In December,2007 Indian Air Force completed user trials for the Akash missile system. The trials, which were spread over ten days were successful and the missile hit its target on all five occasions. Before the ten day trial at Chandipur, the Akash system's ECCM Evaluation tests were carried out at Gwalior Air force base while mobility trials for the system vehicles were carried out at Pokhran. The IAF had evolved the user Trial Directive to verify the Akash's consistency in engaging targets. The following trials were conducted: Against low flying near range target, long range high altitude target, crossing and approaching target and ripple firing of two missiles from the same launcher against a low altitude receding target.[39] Following this, the IAF declared that it would initiate the induction of 2 squadrons strength (each squadron with 2 batteries) of this missile system, to begin with. Once deliveries are complete, further orders would be placed to replace retiring SA-3 GOA (Pechora) SAM systems.[40][41] In February 2010, the Indian Air Force ordered six more squadrons of the Akash system, taking orders to eight of the type. The Indian Army is also expected to order the Akash system.

Official website for Akash SAM www.akashsam.com

Trishul missile system

Trishul (Sanskrit त्रिशूल meaning trident) is the name of a short range surface-to-air missile developed by India as a part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. It has a range of 9 km and is fitted with a 5.5 kg warhead. Designed to be used against low-level (sea skimming) targets at short range, the system has been developed to defend naval vessels against missiles and also as a short range surface to air missile on land. Guidance consists of three different guiding beams, with the guidance handed over progressively to a narrower beam as the missile approaches the target.

According to reports, the range of the missile is 12 km and is fitted with a 15 kg warhead. The weight of the missile is 130 kg. The length of the missile is 3.1 m.[42]

Development costs of the missile touched almost US$70 million to the taxpayers.

India has officially shut down Trishul Missile project on February 27, 2008.[34] The programme of surface-to-air Trishul missile, one of the five missiles being developed by Defense Research and Development Organization, has been shelved. Defence Minister George Fernandes indicated this in Rajya Sabha (upper house of parliament), when he said the Trishul missile had been de-linked from user service, though it would be continued as a technology demonstrator.[43]

Nag missile system

Nag (Sanskrit: नाग meaning cobra) is India's third generation "Fire-and-forget" anti-tank missile. It is an all weather, top attack missile with a range of 3 to 7 km.

The missile uses an 8 kg tandem HEAT warhead capable of defeating modern armour including ERA (Explosive Reactive Armour) and composite armour. Nag uses Imaging Infra-Red (IIR) guidance with day and night capability. Mode of launch for the IIR seeker is LOBL (Lock On Before Launch). Nag can be mounted on an infantry vehicle; a helicopter launched version will also be available with integration work being carried out with the HAL Dhruv.

Separate versions for the Army and the Air Force are being developed. For the Army, the missiles will be carried by specialist carrier vehicles (NAMICA-Nag Missile Carrier) equipped with a thermal imager for target acquisition. NAMICA is a modified BMP-2 IFV licence produced as "Sarath" in India. The carriers are capable of carrying four ready-to-fire missiles in the observation/launch platform which can be elevated with more missiles available for reload within the carrier. For the Air Force, a nose-mounted thermal imaging system has been developed for guiding the missile's trajectory. The missile has a complete fiberglass structure and weighs around 42 kg.

Nag was test fired for the 45th time on March 19, 2005 from the Test Range at Ahmednagar (Maharastra), signalling the completion of the developmental phase. It will now enter production phase, subject to user trials and acceptance by the Indian Army.

Further versions of the missile may make use of an all-weather Milli Metric Wave (MMW) seeker as an additional option. This seeker has reportedly been developed and efforts are on to integrate it into the missile.

Specifications (Nag Missile)

Total length: 1.90 m (6.23 ft)
Diameter: 190 mm (7.5 in)
Wingspan: -
Weight: 42 kg (93 lb)
Warhead Weight: 8 kg (17.6 lb)
Propellant: Tandem Propulsion solid (Nitramine based smokeless extruded double band sustainer propellant)
Maximum effective range: 4 km (Guidance mode: IIR (Imaging infra-red)), 7 km for air-launched variant
Attack Mode: Lock-on-before-Launch - Top attack
Seeker: IIR cadmium zinc telluride
Single-shot hit probability: 0.77
CEP: 0.9 m R.S

Shaurya Missile System

The Shaurya Missile launched in November 2008

The Shaurya missile is a short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile developed by DRDO for use by the Indian Army. Capable of hypersonic speeds, it has a range of 600 km and is capable of carrying a payload of one-tonne conventional or nuclear warhead. It can hit targets deep inside Pakistan and China,both nations having unsettled disputes with India.[44] The Shaurya missile provides India with a significant second strike capability.[45] The missile was tested in November 2008.

Shaurya missile is a land version of the under-water launched K-15 missile, Sagarika (missile).[46][47] This missile is stored in a composite canister just like the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. The composite canister makes the missile much easier to store for long periods without maintenance as well as to handle and transport. It also houses the gas generator to eject the missile from the canister before its solid propellant motors take over to hurl it at the intended target. Shaurya missiles can remain hidden or camouflaged in underground silos from enemy surveillance or satellites till they are fired from the special storage-cum-launch canisters. DRDO Defence scientists admit that given Shaurya's limited range at present, either the silos will have to be constructed closer to India's borders or longer-range canisterised missiles will have to be developed.The Shaurya system will require some more tests before it becomes fully operational in two-three years. Moreover, defence scientists say the high-speed, two-stage Shaurya has high manoeuvrability which also makes it less vulnerable to existing anti-missile defence systems.[48]

Other developments

The expertise and technology developed through the IGMDP is also used in the new Anti ballistic missile called the Exoatmospheric interceptor system which successfully intercepted a Prithvi-II ballistic missile.[49] India became the fourth nation in the world to acquire such a capability and the third nation to develop it through indigenous effort. In December 2007, India successfully tested the Endoatmospheric version which destroyed a modified Prithvi-II missile at 15 km altitude with text-book perfection thereby completing what is known as Multi-layered Theatrical Wide-area Air Defence system that can successfully target and destroy all kinds of Aerial threats from low flying cruise missiles, supersonic short-range, intermediate-range and Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles at altitudes of 15 to 50+ km at any angle and azimuth. On July 26, 2010 India successfully tested an interceptor missile, bringing down an incoming target ballistic missile (a modified Prithvi) with 2,000 km range, at an altitude of 15 km over the Bay of Bengal. On march 6, 2011 India successfully tested an indigenously built interceptor missile, bringing down an incoming target ballistic missile from Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast. The interceptor, developed under the Ballistic Missile Defense System, destroyed the target, a variant of Prithvi-II, mimicking an enemy missile, fired from launch complex-III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur on-Sea in Balasore district, about 70 km from Wheeler Island across the sea, at an altitude of 16 km over the Bay of Bengal. The interceptor was fired five minutes after the target was fired. This test marked completion of Phase-1 of Ballistic Missile Defense and now phase-2 targeting missile of 5,000 km range is underway. On May 15,2011 it was reported that India has started working on a network of air-defence systems which would be able to shoot down any enemy missile before it can enter the Indian air space. [50]

India is said to be in the intermediate stages of developing a new cruise missile, Nirbhay (Sanskrit: निर्भय meaning fearless). The subsonic Nirbhay is said to be 6 m in length with a 520 mm diameter, weigh 1,000 kg and have a 1,000 km range with a speed of 0.7 mach. The technology demonstrator flight is planned for end-2009.[51]

In September 2008, Indian scientists developed a path-breaking technology that has the potential to increase the range of missiles and satellite launch vehicles by at least 40%.The enhanced range is made possible by adding a special-purpose coating of chromium metal to the blunt nose cone of missiles and launch vehicles. This would add-up on the stated range. [52]

A new tactical missile that will fill the gap between the Pinaka rocket system and the Prthvi series of missile has been developed. The first test of the missile is planned for 17th July 2011. The 150 km range missile has been named Prahaar. Each Road mobile launcher is designed to carry six missiles.[53]

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