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Aero India 2023: DRDO readies Rudram anti-radiation missile for user trials

A model of DRDO's NGARM or Rudram-I. (Janes/Rahul Udoshi)

India's state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is preparing for a series of user trials featuring its Rudram-I anti-radiation missile (ARM) integrated with Indian Air Force (IAF) Su-30MKI fighter aircraft.

A DRDO official told Janes at the Aero India 2023 show, being held in Bangalore from 13 to 17 February, that the Rudram-I – previously referred to as the New Generation Anti-Radiation Missile (NGARM) – has completed development trials and that preparations are now under way for user trials that are scheduled to start by mid-2023.

The Rudram-I was first test-fired from an Su-30MKI in January 2019. The missile, which has been in development since 2012, is scheduled to eventually replace existing Kh-31 (AS-17 ‘Krypton') and Martel ARMs in the IAF inventory.

The Rudram-I is powered by an indigenously developed dual-pulse, solid-propellant rocket motor, and can be guided by a combination of passive and millimetric-wave (MMW) seekers.

The missile is fitted with a 55 kg pre-fragmentation (PF)-type warhead, which is detonated by a laser proximity fuze. The missile can be fired from altitudes between 1 and 15 km, and can operate in lock-on-before-launch and lock-on-after-launch modes. The missile's shelf-life is more than 10 years.

The initial plan to produce the Rudram-I featured joint manufacturing by state-owned enterprises – Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

However, private-sector firm Adani Defence and Aerospace recently joined the DRDO's ‘Development cum Production Partner' programme to mass-produce the missile. It is unclear whether the DRDO is exploring multisource supply options or moving solely to the private sector to meet future demands.

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