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India is exploring the local manufacture of the Long Range Stand-Off Weapon System (ROCKS), also known as Crystal Maze-2, an air-launched rocket system. This move has sparked questions as India already possesses the Rudram-2 and Rudram-3 missiles.

Indian Air Force (IAF) officials speaking to have clarified the reasoning behind pursuing both missile systems. They categorize Rudram-2 and Rudram-3 as air-launched ballistic missiles (ALBM) with a superior range of 300-500 km. These high-speed missiles (Mach 5+) are designed to destroy high-value targets like enemy radars, surface-to-air missile batteries, runways, command bunkers, and air hangars from a safe distance, minimizing risk to the launching aircraft.

The ROCKS, with a range of 250 km, falls into a different category. The IAF views it as a cost-effective solution for engaging secondary high-value targets. This two-pronged approach equips the IAF with a combination of long-range, high-speed missiles for critical targets and a more economical option for situations demanding a less expensive solution.

The IAF is considering local production of ROCKS alongside the procurement of Rudram-2 and Rudram-3 missiles, developed by the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). These missiles are intended to integrate seamlessly with India’s fleet of Su-30MKI, Mirage-2000, and Tejas MkII fighter jets.

India’s planned production of ROCKS and procurement of Rudram missiles signifies a strategic approach to bolstering its air attack capabilities. This dual acquisition equips the IAF with a versatile arsenal, offering a range of options to address various battlefield scenarios.

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