SR-SAM, air version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile and SANT missile launched this month

The APJ Abdul Kalam Missile Complex, which houses the Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL) and the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) here, scored a hat-trick of sorts with three successful launches — vertical launch of Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SR-SAM), air version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile and the Stand Off Anti-Tank (SANT) missile — this month.

The first two were test fired at Chandipur integrated test range off the coast of Odisha and the last one was flight tested from the Pokhran range in Rajasthan, all indigenously developed, with RCI and DRDL being the nodal labs, senior officials informed on Sunday and sought anonymity.

Scientists involved in the making of these sophisticated missile systems were elated at these ‘smooth’ launches, but coming in the backdrop of the tragic helicopter crash that killed Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika and 11 other officers at Coonoor, it was a subdued affair.

RCI equipped these missiles with onboard avionics, integrated software, tracking algorithms and computers while the DRDL was into advanced propulsion and guidance systems. The VL-SRSAM missile is for the Indian Navy to be fixed on the ships. It was launched against an electronic target at a very low altitude and all ‘sub-systems’ performed as per expectation, senior officials explained.

The first trial was held in February this year and the latest one “is confirmatory trial” to prove the “consistent performance of the configuration and integrated operation”, they said.

BrahMos was being tested for advanced propulsions, engines, airframes, navigation and guidance systems. It was test-fired from the supersonic fighter aircraft Sukhoi Su-30MKI, paving the way for the serial production of air-version of the missiles. The first test was held in July. BrahMos is a joint venture between India (DRDO) and Russia (NPOM), already inducted into the Armed Forces.

SANT is equipped with a state-of-the-art MMW seeker and propulsion technology providing high precision strike capability with 10 km range. It was designed and developed by RCI in coordination with other DRDO labs and participation from industries, the officials said.

While DRDL director Dashrath Ram and RCI director U Raja Babu led their respective teams, director general of Missiles & Strategic Systems BHVS Narayana Murthy, holding additional charge of BrahMos, reviewed the launch operations. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Secretary Department of Defence R&D and DRDO chairman Satheesh Reddy congratulated the scientists for these successful indigenous efforts.