2020 had been a hectic year for India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) that saw numerous launches and developmental testing of the various missiles that were developed by DRDO and its associate labs in the country and as we begin 2021, DRDO will be testing this year Five new missiles that will enhance India’s firepower this year.

5 New Missiles have been in development for a while now and various media outlets and many informed sources close to also have confirmed that they will be ready to be tested this year.

BrahMos-ER Block IV: DRDO already has enhanced BrahMos range from 290km to 400km and has been working on the development of a new BrahMos-ER (Extended Range) Supersonic Cruise missile that will have a range of 800km and also come with an enhanced speed of Mach 4.5. Block IV BrahMos will have further finetuned and improved second stage liquid ramjet engines for Mach 4.5 speed in the cruise phase and will carry additional internal fuel for an extended range.

Astra-IR: was the first to break the news of DRDO planning Captive flight trials of an infrared imagery homing head equipped Astra fire-and-forget air-to-air missile capable of medium and short-range engagements. A passive infrared sensor has been developed and an ECCM and tweaked propulsion system will be borrowed from the Astra-RF BVRAAM and if captive trial data doesn’t spring any surprises then the missile will be tested by end of 2021.

Astra-Mk2: Much awaited developmental trials of the next generation long-medium-range air-to-air missile capable of engaging hostile targets at 160km+ range have been planned for 2021 and to keep the program in the fast lane 5 Sukhoi-30MKI will be getting minor modifications to be used as Testbed airframe for the missile system and 25 pre-production units of the new missile are currently under assembly for the developmental trial phase.

Akash-NG: Akash Next Generation Air-Defence system has moved from the Research and Development stage to the assembly stage and it is more or less now confirmed that the missile will be ready for the developmental trials in 2021. Akash-NG will not borrow any technologies from its predecessor Akash Mk1/1S and will be based on newer and more advanced technologies and will see a use of a canister design system for better mobility and environmental protections. Akash-NG will have an engagement range against hostile targets up to 50km and will supplement the Indo-Israeli MRSAM system both in the Air force and Army.

STAR: DRDO is developing a Supersonic Target system that is designed to mimic an incoming supersonic threat. system would be used to test and evaluate the missile system’s capability for a supersonic engagement scenario. STAR system employs a Liquid Ramjet engine to give a pre-programmed supersonic cruise trajectory in the altitude bracket of 10m to 10km. STAR variants can be also used to engage hostile targets at the sea and will come as a cheaper alternative to expensive BrahMos Supersonic cruise missiles to be used on low priority targets.

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