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As the world enters the remaining days of 2022, India has enjoyed a stellar year in terms of evaluating missile systems that have raised its bar on the world stage. Nevertheless, India is not finished yet, and 2023 will see more missile tests and the going to unveil of newer missile defence systems that have been in development for some time has compiled a list of missile systems that are in advanced stages of development and are expected to make their developmental flight debuts in 2023.

Astra Mk2: In 2022, We got confirmation that India has commenced captive and realise trials of the upcoming Astra Mk2, beyond visual range air to Air missile that has a claimed range of 160+km. Mk2 will be the first Indian air-to-air missile to feature AESA-based Seeker that will improve its ability to hit targets in the last few seconds when engaging a target and will usher in India’s entry into an elite club of countries that have capabilities to hit aerial targets at such ranges.

Rudram-2: Captive flight trials of the Air-Launched RudraM-II that has a range of 300km when the missile is launched from 15km altitude at Mach 0.8. was completed in 2022 and in the same year, tenders were issued for the supply of airframes, IIR seekers, warheads and other components for the fabrication of initial batches of missiles system to carry out developmental trials of the missile. By end of 2023, we will likely see the first developmental trials of the weapon systems from Su-30MKI aircraft.

NASM–MR: Naval Anti-Ship Missile-Medium Range, an anti-ship missile with a range of 150+km, has been developed for several years now, and according to tender issues in 2022, the weapon system will be under fabrication soon and likely will be prepared for captive and flight release trials in 2023, possibly with a developmental test carried out by the end of 2023 or early 2024.

VEDA: Vehicle for Defence Application (Veda) is a little-discussed programme, but we all know that it is a Defense satellite launch vehicle that will be used to inject Nano-satellites that can be configured for use in a variety of configurations for Defense utilities at a moments notice. Road mobile Defense satellite launch vehicles will provide India with the ability to launch on-demand from nearly any stretch of land that can be used for such launches, particularly in the event of war and a shortage of current Defense satellites. Experimental trials of VEDA are likely to commence in 2023 since it is based on established missile systems like K-4 and Agni-5, India already has the technology for it.

K-5: There were numerous false alarms in 2022 that India’s secret submarine-launched ballistic missile programme had added another member to its K Family, but this was not the case. K-5 has been in development since 2015, and it is nearing or has already begun a few short-range trials, but there is no confirmation. With the emergence of the S4 and S4*(Star) Class of submarines, K-5 developmental trials in 2023 are highly likely, as it is India’s longest SLBM with a range of 5000-6000+km.

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