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The Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) in Hyderabad, along with Premier Explosives, has achieved a breakthrough in propellant technology for rockets and missiles. The collaboration resulted in an indigenous process for a key material used in the preparation of CL-20 propellant.

CL-20 is a high-energy material prized for its superior performance compared to conventional propellants. It boasts a better oxidizer-to-fuel ratio than RDX and delivers 20% more energy than HMX-based propellants, translating to increased efficiency and range for rockets and missiles.

Previously, India relied on imports for a crucial material called TAIW, essential for CL-20 production. This dependence presented a strategic vulnerability.

Dr. N. Lingaiah and his team at CSIR-IICT addressed this challenge by developing a new catalytic process. This innovative method utilizes readily available and inexpensive catalysts, eliminating the need for expensive noble metals and high concentrations. Additionally, the process requires smaller catalyst quantities and operates under moderate reaction conditions, making it not only cost-effective but also environmentally friendly.

The newly developed technology has been successfully transferred to Premier Explosives, paving the way for commercial-scale CL-20 propellant production within India. This development represents a significant leap forward in India’s strategic autonomy and self-sufficiency in the crucial domain of missile and space propulsion.