India’s first indigenous anti-radiation missile, Rudram, developed for the Indian Air Force, was successfully flight-tested from a Sukhoi-30 MKI jet off the east coast. Anti-radiation missiles are designed to detect, track and neutralise the adversary’s radar, communication assets and other radio frequency sources, which are generally part of their air defence systems.
Features of the Anti Radiation Missile
- Rudram is an air-to-surface missile, designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
- The integration with fighter jets has been a collaborative effort of various DRDO facilities and formations of the IAF and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.
- While the system has been tested from a Sukhoi-30 MKI, it can be adapted for launch from other fighter jets too.
- Rudram has been developed for the IAF’s requirement to enhance its Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) capability.
- As one of the many aspects of SEAD tactics, anti-radiation missiles are used mainly in the initial part of air conflict to strike at the air defence assets of the enemy, and also in later parts, leading to higher survivability of a country’s own aircraft.
- Neutralising or disrupting the operations of the adversary’s early warning radars, command and control systems, surveillance systems that use radio frequencies and give inputs for anti-aircraft weaponry, can be very crucial.
- The missile’s navigation mechanism comprises an inertial navigation system-a computerised mechanism that uses changes in the object’s own position, coupled with GPS, which is satellite-based.
- For guidance, it has a passive homing head-a system that can detect, classify and engage targets (radio frequency sources in this case) over a wide band of frequencies as programmed.
- Once the Rudram missile locks on the target, it is capable of striking accurately even if the radiation source switches off in between. Further, it can lock into a target not only before launch but also after it has been launched.
- The missile has a launch speed of up to 2 Mach. Its range depends on the height at which the fighter jet is flying. It can be launched from a height ranging from 500 metres to 15 km and can hit radiation emitting targets within a range of 250 km.