Why New Indian Anti-Radiation Missile – Rudram-1 Should Not Really Perturb China Or Pakistan?

With “Iron Brothers” China and Pakistan resting on each of its shoulders, ready to pounce, India has been forced to increase efforts in bolstering its defensive capabilities, which it did by successfully testing SMART (Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo) system.

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However, it has not just stopped there and upped it a notch after launching the country’s first anti-radiation missile (ARM) to join the list of very few elite nations who boast the possession of the missile aimed at killing enemy radars.

On Friday (October 09), New Delhi took another step further under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” mission for promoting a “self-reliant India” after it successfully test-fired the new-generation Rudram-1 tactical anti-radiation missile.

The missile, which can be launched by the Indian Air Force (IAF) from its Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets to shoot down enemy radars and surveillance systems, was tested at the interim test range Balasore, off the coast of India’s eastern Odisha state.

In accomplishing the significant landmark, India joined the likes of the United States, Russia, Brazil,  China, United Kingdom and Iran who all boast indigenous ARM missiles in their armoury.

Commenting on the test-firing, a senior Indian government official speaking to reporters, said,

     “This is a huge step forward.” The IAF will now have the capability to perform SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defence) operations deep into enemy territory to destroy enemy air defence setup.”

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also shared a congratulatory tweet stating – “The New Generation Anti-Radiation Missile (Rudram-1) which is India’s first indigenous anti-radiation missile developed by DRDO for Indian Air Force was tested successfully today at ITR, Balasore. Congratulations to DRDO & other stakeholders for this remarkable achievement.”

Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, the New Generation Anti-Radiation Missile (NGARM) has a launch speed of up to 2 Mach, twice the speed of sound, according to sources.

The missile can be integrated with Su-30MKIs, with their range depending on the height the fighter is flying at. The fighters will be equipped to launch the missiles from a height ranging from 500 metres to 15 km, with it being capable of Striking radiation-emitting targets within a range of 250 km.

    “This test demonstrates the capability of an Anti-Radiation Missile with large stand-off ranges,” said another official.

With India set to welcome the arrival of the second batch of French Rafales this month, the country sure looks to mean business amid increasing threat on the borders, with the missiles adding steel to its defensive capabilities.

India becomes the latest user of the ARM missiles with the US using AGM-88 HARM, Britain using the ALARM, Russia with its Kh-58, Taiwan using TC-2A and Iran using its Hormoz-2 anti-radiation missiles.

File:Kh-58U anti-radiation missile in Park Patriot 01.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Kh-58U anti-radiation missile in Park Patriot – Wikimedia Commons

US’ AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) has been in service for the last 35 years and is used as an air-to-surface missile capable of detecting, attacking and destroying a radar antenna or transmitter with minimal aircrew input.

The Air-Launched Anti-Radiation Missile (ALARM) used by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) is used to destroy enemy radars for the purpose of Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD).

The Soviet ARM known as the Kh-58 has a range of 120 kilometres and can be fitted with a range of seeker heads aimed at targeting specific air defence radars. Whereas, Taiwan’s Sky or TC-2 is a medium-range, radar-guided air-to-air missile capable of engaging multiple targets.

The Hormuz-2 is Iranian Navy’s ballistic anti-radiation missiles boasting the ability to strike targets at sea, with the missile’s range being approximately close to 300 kilometres, as per claims.

Additionally,  China developed the FT-2000 system to counter AEW and AWACS targets. This system is based on the HQ-9, which is in turn based on the S-300PMU. These anti-radiation missile systems have been marketed to Pakistan and various other countries.

Anti-radiation missiles” are designed to detect, locate, and destroy enemy air defence radars; they are often carried by specialist aircraft that accompany airstrikes to perform the SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) mission.

In December 2008, Brazil’s government approved a $108 million April 2008 contract with Pakistan for 100 of Mectron’s MAR-1 anti-radiation missiles. Experts say, anti-radiation missiles are nothing new and chances are China and Pakistan would not be really perturbed with the test, however, it is a massive boost to India and its defence industry.