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India progresses development of new naval weapon

India's new vertical launch short-range surface-to-air missile (VL-SRSAM) is expected to be fitted onto Indian Navy Shivalik-class (Project 17) frigates including INS Satpura , pictured above. (Indian Navy)

India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has conducted further tests of its new vertical launch short-range surface-to-air missile (VL-SRSAM), a weapon being developed for integration onto Indian Navy warships.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on 7 December that the flight test was held from the DRDO's integrated test range (ITR) in Chandipur, on the coast of the eastern state of Odisha. It said the launch was conducted from a static vertical launcher “against an electronic target at a very low altitude”.

Janes analysis suggests that the trial was conducted using an eight-cell vertical launcher unit.

The MoD said the VL-SRSAM launch was conducted to validate the integrated operation of the missile's technologies and components including its vertical launcher unit and controller, canisterised flight vehicle, and weapon control system.

The first trial of the VL-SRSAM was held at the ITR in February. The MoD said this trial was “confirmatory” to prove the performance of VL-SRSAM's configuration and its integrated operation.

Following that trial, the MoD noted that the new missile system is “meant for neutralising various aerial threats at close ranges including sea-skimming targets”.

Janes has previously reported that once in operation, the VL-SRSAM will likely replace the Barak-1 surface-to-air missile system that is integrated into Indian Navy vessels such as the Shivalik-class frigates, and the aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya.

The weapon is intended to provide Indian Navy warships with improved ranges when engaging aerial threats.

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