The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the first time in Dec 2019 had revealed the details which was uploaded on its website of the XR-SAM-IAF (eXtra Long Range Surface to Air Missile). The missile will be developed by the Hyderabad-based Defence Research and Development Laboratories (DRDL).

The DRDO’s website stated that XR-SAM-IAF is being developed for the Indian Air Force (IAF) as part of Missiles and Strategic Systems (MSS), and added that it will play a vital role in the missile defence system of the country. DRDO said that the XR-SAM air missile weapon system will also be able to engage stealth fighters and ballistic missile in the terminal stage.

Saurav Jha a renowned defence analyst reported that DRDO’s XR-SAM have the same range capability to that of S-400 system’s 48N6 SAM boasting a range of 250km. [And also The Ground Launched Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) Missile (GL-SFDR)]

XR-SAM will be used to bridge the gap between MR-SAM (70 km) and S-400 (400 km) Air Defence System and will be using spin-off technologies developed for countries Anti-Ballistic missile Defence system-SAM will complement the S-400 systems in their role and filling the need for a robust Multi-Layered Air Defence System and a family of Ground Based Air Defence Weapon Systems (GBADWS)

The total system will be consisting of two different surface to air missiles. One will have 250 km range another will have 400 km range.

XR-SAM is actually a spin-off of the AAD-1 Endo-atmospheric interceptor with a service ceiling of 120 km and has supposedly Anti-Ballistic Missile features though its not confirmed.

India is buying two different type of surface-to-air missile for its S-400 system: 40N6 (Range: 400 km) and 48N6 Range: 250 km). XR-SAM will have active radar homing guidance GaN (Gallium Nitride ) based UHF radars aimed at engaging Aircraft, Cruise Missiles, Unmanned Drones and even ballistic targets.

DRDO is yet to confirm if XR-SAM Air Defence Missile System will consist of one or two different type of missile system yet but there are unconfirmed reports indicating that system will be capable of simultaneously engaging cruise missiles, aircraft and ballistic targets, hinting of using two slightly different missile configuration of same type .

XR-SAM Air Defence Missile system might utilise same network grid deployed for Anti-Ballistic missile Defence system and might be working as part of large umbrella air defence network grid consisting of ABM, S-400 and XR-SAM surveillance, guidance, tracking network of radars .

The other air defence missiles being developed by DRDO are QR-SAM - Quick Reaction SAM for moving formations, MR-SAM - Medium Range, Barak-8 and LR-SAM (Long Range) SAM.

India needs something on the XR-SAM lines, but the missile is only part of the capability. For the ranges mentioned (250-350 km) it is unlikely that a missile will be able to carry its own sensors. A missile is not physically big enough to house the power required for such long-range. The missile will have to integrate with a ground-based long-range detection and tracking system. It may have the autonomous capability for ‘terminal guidance’ (last 30-40 km or so).

The Defence Research and Development Organisation is reported to begin trials next year.

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