Meet India’s indigenously-developed Anti-Radiation Missile, the Rudram series

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In the era of modern and advanced warfare, the use of cutting-edge military technologies is increasing, anti-radiation missiles is one of them, they are basically the backbone of Electronic Warfare. They are used for destroying enemy C³ systems, Command, Communication and control. In easy words, anti-radiation missiles are used in SEAD Military operation, SEAD stands for the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses. Earlier only few countries such as the USA, Russia and China was capable of developing cutting-edge weapons that are used in SEAD operations. But now my country India has also joined this list, india has been researching to develop its own Anti-Radiation Missile since 2012. Today, we have successfully designed and developed the Rudram series of Air-to-surface Anti-Radiation Missile System. The Rudram series consists of three missiles, Rudram-1, Rudram-2 and Rudram-3. These missiles have the range of 250 to 550 km making it the longest range Anti-Radiation Missile in the world.  Today, in this article i will discuss about the overall capabilities of the Rudram series.

Electronic Warfare is the next-generation warfare which is widely used by the most advanced airforce in the world, the United States Air Force. To make use of Electronic Warfare, SEAD operations are conducted by fighter aircrafts that suppress and destroy enemy surface-based air defenses, including not only surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and anti-aircraft artillery guns (AAA) but also interrelated systems such as early-warning radars and command, control and communication (C3) functions.

In modern warfare, SEAD missions can constitute as much as 30% of all sorties launched in the first week of combat and continue at a reduced rate through the rest of a campaign. One quarter of American combat sorties in recent conflicts have been SEAD missions. Also SEAD missions are the secret of the success of the USAF in recent conflicts.

The weapons most important for SEAD missions are anti-radiation missiles (ARMs), which work by homing in on radio emission sources like radar antennae. These missiles are equipped with relatively small warheads, limiting collateral damage, but can easily destroy radar antennae and thus cripple an enemy’s air defense system. Early examples of ARMs could be fooled by turning off the radar system, which would cease emitting radiation for the missile to track; more recent missiles are fitted with fire-control systems which “remember” where the source was and continue towards that location.

Anti-radiation missiles proved particularly effective during the Vietnam War where, despite the small number carried relative to other munitions, they accounted for 46% of all SA-2 missile batteries destroyed.

India started the research for the development of Anti-Radiation Missile in 2012. Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) is the primary agency which carried out the design and development of the missile system along with Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Defence Electronics Research Laboratory (DLRL), High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), Research Centre Imarat (RCI) and Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL).

Many subsystem level developmental works were outsourced to private sector players. Software Development Institute of the Indian Air Force (IAF) helped in the integration of DRDO Anti-Radiation Missile with Sukhoi Su-30MKI while the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Nasik Division did the AKU-58 launcher modification which undertook extensive wind-tunnel tests at National Trisonic Aerodynamic Facilities (NTAF) division of National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), Bengaluru.

The first missile of the Rudram series, the Rudram-1, is also known as DRDO Anti-Radiation Missile (ARM) or new generation anti-radiation missile (NGARM). It is specifically designed for suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD), it can be launched from a range of altitudes with large standoff distance for destroying enemy surveillance radars, tracking and communication systems. It is the first anti-radiation missile developed by India.

According to reports, the Indian Government has planned to make this missile a part of the Indian Air Force by 2022 or 2023 after conducting six to seven more tests. The missile will soon enter serial production. The Rudram-1 will be jointly produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

Technical Specifications of the Rudram series Anti-Radiation Missiles

The Missile has the weight of 600 kg (1,300 lb and the length of 5.5 m (18 ft). The missile is equipped with a 60 kg (130 lb) pre-fragmented warhead which uses optical proximity fuze detonation mechanism.

For propulsion the Rudram series uses dual-pulsed rocket motor engine, with solid fuel propellant system. The Missile is capable of reaching the speed of Mach 2+.

The weapon is capable of flying at the flight altitude of 500 m to 15 km. It’s mid-course guidance is accomplished through inertial navigation system (INS) combined with GPS/NavIC satellite guidance through digital filtering as fall back to correct accumulated errors and a passive homing head (PHH) seeker.

DRDO ARM can target mobile integrated air-defence system as well as radar station that shutdown to avoid detection.

The Rudram series Anti-Radiation Missiles can be launched from a wide variety of combat aircrafts of the Indian Air Force, such as the MiG-29UPG, SEPECAT Jaguar, Sukhoi Su-30MKI, Dassault Mirage 2000, HAL Tejas Mk2 and HAL Tejas MK1A.

The Rudram series missiles are very accurate in destroying their targets, the missile has the circular error probability of only 5 meters.

The operational range of the three missiles of the Rudram series is Rudram-1: 250 km (160 mi), Rudram-2: 350 km (220 mi), Rudram-3: 550 km (340 mi). The striking range of the Rudram is currently the longest in the world.

Comparing this range with the other available Anti-Radiation Missiles of China and the United States, the US-made AGM-88 HARM Anti-Radiation Missile has the range of 225 km, the Chinese-made YJ-91 has the range of 120km.

After the induction of the Rudram series Anti-Radiation Missiles in the Indian Air Force (that will most likely happen in mid-2023), the Indian Air Force will become one of the few airforces in the world with such a state-of-the-art military technology.

The induction of indigenously developed Rudram series Anti-Radiation Missiles will give the Indian Air Force a upper hand over Pakistan and China.

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