India is making significant strides towards the establishment of an Integrated Rocket Force (IRF) in response to the ongoing military standoff with China. As part of this development, the country is focusing on the creation of next-generation multiple-launch rocket systems, which will serve as crucial components of the IRF and engage important targets located deep within enemy territory.

Currently, India operates the indigenously developed 214 mm Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher family, with a range ranging from the older variant of 37.5 km to the Mk-II ER variant, which boasts a range of 90 km. However, the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) aims to go beyond this and develop next-generation multiple-launch rocket systems in the calibre category above 300 mm. This endeavour has also attracted competition from the private sector.

Solar Industries India, a private company, is actively working on two guided missiles known as Maheshwarastra 1 and Maheshwarastra 2. Maheshwarastra 1 will have a range of 150 km, while Maheshwarastra 2 will have an extended range of 290 km. Both programs are company-funded and have received approval from the Ministry of Defense.

Another private sector company, JSR Dynamics, claims to be developing a 324 mm calibre Guided Rocket system with a range of 250 to 300 km. This system will possess guided capacity, enhancing its precision targeting capabilities. JSR Dynamics plans to develop the airframe and guidance system in-house, while discussions are ongoing with a European company to secure highly specific impulse propellant.

DRDO itself intends to develop a 300 mm calibre Guided Rocket system with a maximum firing range of up to 150 km. This system will utilize inertial and satellite navigation systems for guidance. While it may seem that multiple projects are duplicating efforts, each program will possess distinct capabilities. The presence of multiple production lines and different classes of rocket systems will prove advantageous for the IRF, as it will play a crucial offensive role in India’s defence strategy.

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