On 03 October 2020, India successfully test-fired a new version of The Shaurya ballistic missile which can hit targets beyond 800 km range from the DRDO testing range.
The successful test flight marks a third crucial test of the new weapon system in the last 20 days as on 22 September DRDO tested Abhyas HEAT drone, last week DRDO tested barrel launched SAMHO missile from Arjun tank and now the successful test of the Shaurya missile is a testament to technological capabilities of DRDO. In this Guarding India Exclusive, we will be telling you about the capabilities of the newly tested Shaurya ballistic missile.
Shaurya ballistic missile is developed by the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). This missile is far different than any other Indian missile as most likely it will be given to forces in the non-nuclear roles and will provide them with a far-reaching strike option. Initially, the Shaurya missile was speculated to be the land version of India’s submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) Sagarika K-15 missile as both had similar ranges. However, DRDO officials have repeatedly refused any connections between Sagarika K-15 and Shaurya missile programs.
The Shaurya missile is designed to provide Indian Armed forces with long-range missile strike capability. Presently, India has liquid-fueled variants of the Prithvi missile which has a range of 350-500 km while the range of the BrahMos cruise missile is just 400-500 kilometers. The next missile Indian missile was Agni-I which was a nuclear-armed ballistic missile with 750 kilometers range. Therefore, Indian Armed forces lacked any missile between the range of 500-750 kilometers. The Shaurya missile with a range of just 700 kilometers is specially designed to cover this capability gap.
The Shaurya missile is specifically designed for providing armed forces with a readily available, accurate, and faster strike option in critical scenarios. Unlike Prithvi missiles which are liquid-fueled and require a lot of time for preparation, the Shaurya missile is a solid-fueled missile that can be immediately launched. Moreover, the Shaurya missile uses a composite canisters launcher mounted on Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL). Using canister TEL has two advantages, first, they can travel anywhere and are very difficult to track by enemy forces. The second advantage is that canister TEL can fire its missile within minutes of getting orders which makes the entire kill chain much shorter.
Shaurya missiles can also be hidden in underground missile silos which are well camouflaged from enemy surveillance or overhead satellites until these missiles are launched. Therefore, whether based in canister TEL or hidden in underground missile silos, knowing the location of Shaurya missiles before they are launched will be near impossible for enemy forces.
The biggest advantage of the Shaurya missile comes after the launch. Being a rapid strike option, the Shaurya missile is a high speed and highly maneuverable two-stage solid-fueled ballistic missiles. Shaurya missile can fly at the hypersonic speeds of Mach 7.5 or 9261 kilometers per hour even at low altitudes. This staggering speed means Shaurya missile can cover entire 700 kilometers in less than 500 seconds which makes it impossible for enemy radars or anti-missile defences. The Shaurya missile is a very accurate missile that uses a ring laser gyroscope and accelerometer that can fly even without GPS. In fact, the Shaurya missile is a complex new generation system that has high-performance and extremely efficient propulsion systems.
Immediately after launch, the Shaurya missile reaches a height of about 50 km, and then it starts flying like a hypersonic cruise missile in a flatter profile. After reaching near to its target, the Shaurya missile starts maneuvering towards the target so that it can avoid enemy air defence missiles, and finally, the Shaurya missile strikes with an accuracy of 20 to 30 meters.
Shaurya missile can deliver 1 Ton (1000 kg) warhead to more than 800 kilometers range. Interestingly, the Shaurya missile has a varying range which increases as the payload is decreased. The estimated range of the Shaurya missile is in range of 700 to 1,900 km while its payload capability varies between 200 Kg to 1000 Kg for conventional warheads. While the Shaurya missile can also be armed with nuclear warheads however most likely it will be armed by conventional warheads only.
The Shaurya missile is a canister launched hypersonic surface-to-surface tactical missile designed for the Indian Armed Forces. This missile is a China-specific missile as immediately after launch it can strike any target in Tibet within 500 to 700 seconds that means within 10 minutes of ordering a strike on any Chinese target, the Shaurya missiles will destroy that particular target. The range of these Dong Feng missiles like DF- 11 missiles with ranges of 300-700 kilometers, DF-15 missiles with 600 – 900 kilometers, and DF-17 missiles with 1,800 to 2,000 kilometers.
Team Guarding India is confident that the Shaurya missile will be an apt strike capability to respond to the threat of the Dong-Feng series of short and medium-range ballistic missiles held by the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) and soon it will be deployed on the India-China border. This missile will ensure India will have a credible conventional deterrent to the threat of Chinese ballistic missiles.