India Successfully Demonstrates SFDR Technology Critical For Development Of Long Range Air-To-Air Missiles
India is currently developing a 160-km range version of the Astra air-to-air missile.
Earlier today, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) tested its Solid Fueled Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) technology with a demonstration flight from the Integrated Test Range off the coast of Odisha.
The test, DRDO said, helped prove many technologies and sub-systems, including the ground booster motor and nozzle less motor.
The development of SFDR technology will enable India to make its own long-range air-to-air missile, which could mirror the capabilities of the best missiles in this class, like MBDA’s Meteor, which the Indian Air Force uses on its Rafales.
India has been working on the Mark-II version of home grown Astra air-to-air missile, which will have a range of around 160 kilometer.
The SFDR propulsion system, which was also tested in 2019, is critical for the missile’s performance in the terminal phase of its flight towards the target.
The Meteor missile also depends on its ramjet propulsion for “more energy to maneuver during the endgame of the engagement”.
“The ramjet motor [propulsion system] provides the [Meteor] missile with thrust all the way to target intercept, providing the largest No-Escape Zone of any air-to-air missile,” the literature on the missile on MBAD website reads.
While the DRDO’s plan for Astra Mark-II is to mirror the performance of MBDA’s Meteor missile, it may take a few more years to reach there, experts say.
The development of the Astra missile began in 2001.
The Mark-I version of the missile was tested for the first time in May 2003. Since then, Astra Mark-I has been test-fired multiple times, and has been integrated with Su-30 MKI. In September 2019, the missile, test-fired from an Su-30MKI of the IAF, hit a target 90 kilometer away. The air-to-air missile has already been ordered in large numbers for the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy.
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