DRDO Development to Complement BARAK?
India’s Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) announced on 7 December it has test-launched a new vertical launch, short-range, surface-to-air-missile (VL SRSAM) aimed at improving the air-defence capabilities of Indian Navy (IN) warships.
The missile was tested against a simulated target flying “at a very low altitude,” DRDO stated, adding that both flight path and performance of the locally-designed and -developed weapon were monitored using tracking instruments at the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur.
The test – the second announced to date – was meant to validate the “integrated operation of all weapon system components, including the vertical launcher unit with controller, the canisterised flight vehicle, and the weapon control system required for future launches of the missile from Indian Navy ships,” according to DRDO.
The first trial of the VL-SRAM, which is meant to engage various aerial threats – including sea-skimming targets – at close ranges, took place on 22 February. At the time the weapon was tested at its minimum and maximum ranges, with DRDO saying it “intercepted the simulated targets with pinpoint accuracy” on both occasions.
According to India’s MoD, the latest test has “paved the way for integration of the weapon system onboard Indian Navy ships”. No information regarding dimensions, maximum range, or the ship classes it is expected to arm has yet been released.
SRSAM systems currently featured on IN vessels include the Israeli-designed BARAK-1, which is used by several frigates and destroyers. It is believed that the new VL-SRAM is being developed to replace and/or complement the BARAK-1, with some local media reports claiming that DRDO is also aiming to develop a variant of the system to protect Indian Air Force facilities and bases.
Gabriel Dominguez reporting for MON