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Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme

Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme

Started in the early 1980s, India’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) led by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam aimed to build domestic capabilities in missile tech, including propulsion, navigation, control, and materials. It produced missiles like Agni and Prithvi, ensuring self-reliance for national security.

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Background of the IGMDP

Following the 1962 conflict with China and subsequent wars with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971, India acknowledged the imperative of achieving self-reliance in vital military equipment to uphold national security interests. Prior to this realization, the country had heavily relied on imported missiles, which played significant roles in these conflicts.

  • In the late 1970s, it became apparent that relying on external sources for tactical weapons could expose vulnerabilities due to the unpredictable nature of geopolitical relationships.
  • Consequently, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) initiated the Integrated Missile Development Program to achieve self-reliance in missile technology, covering a range from battlefield rockets to long-range missiles.
  • This program evolved into the IGMDP, with a specific emphasis on developing guided missiles.

Evolution of Integrated Missile Development Program

The Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) followed a phased campaign approach, advancing through stages of technology development, subsystem testing, prototype fabrication, extensive flight trials, production, and eventual induction.

  • 1983-84: Focus on infrastructure development and training of scientific talent.
  • 1984-89: Advancements in Prithvi and Trishul missile systems.
  • 1989-92: Mastery achieved in Nag anti-tank and Akash SAM missile technologies.
  • 1992-2008: Successful development and testing of the Agni ballistic missile program.

India’s indigenized outputs facilitated entry into the league of missile-possessing nations, showcasing a conversion of technological prowess into strategic deterrence. The Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) yielded significant ancillary advancements, such as the Long-Range Tracking System, advanced composite materials, high-accuracy ring laser gyros, and radomes. IGMDP established crucial institutions like the Integrated Missile Development Center, Defense Technology Center, and Advanced Center for Energetic Materials. By 2008, with the attainment of self-reliance goals (Atma Nirbharta), DRDO concluded the program.

Objectives of the IGMDP

The IGMDP set ambitious objectives targeted at developing complete competence in guided missiles natively covering:

  • The Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme encompassed research facilities and expertise in various crucial technologies such as propellants, aerodynamics, navigation, and control systems.
  • The program established specialized assembly lines and facilities dedicated to efficiently manufacturing the developed missiles in large numbers.
  • After lots of testing in real-world situations, the program made sure that newly developed missile systems smoothly joined the armed forces, getting them ready for action.

Significance of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme

The launch of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) in 1983 served as a cornerstone in fostering native proficiency and operational prowess in missile technologies.

  • IGMDP provided a specialized platform for Indian scientists to hone their skills in critical technologies such as propellants, aerodynamics, navigation, guidance, and stage separation.
  • Successful missile development under IGMDP bolstered India’s strategic deterrence capabilities, enhancing national security.
  • Missiles developed under IGMDP, such as the Agni series, Prithvi missiles, BrahMos, and Akash Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs), now play pivotal roles in national security management.

Missiles Developed under IGMDP

Several missile systems have been developed under these projects, including Prithvi, Trishul, Akash, Nag, and Agni, spanning a range of capabilities.

  • The Prithvi missile has various versions tailored for different ranges and payload capacities, making it adaptable for various short-range surface-to-surface missions.
  • Dhanush, the naval iteration of the Prithvi III missile, has the capability to transport payloads ranging from 500 kg to 1000 kg, with a striking range of 350 km.
  • Its submarine counterpart is known as Sagarika.
VariantsRangePayload FuelWarheadsStatus
Prithvi-I150 km1,000kg Single-stage liquid-fueledNuclear, high-explosiveInducted
Prithvi II350 km350 kg to 750kg Single-stage liquid-fueledNuclear or ConventionalInducted
Prithvi III750 km1,000 kg for 350 km &500kg for (650km) 250 kg for 750 km1st stage is Solid-fueled 2nd stage- liquid-fueled.Nuclear or ConventionalInducted
  • Developed to protect naval vessels from missiles and short-range surface-to-air missiles on land.
  • Classified as a short-range, low-level surface-to-air missile system.
  • Capable of striking targets up to a range of 12 kilometers.
  • Has a payload capacity of 5.5 kilograms.
  • India terminated this program officially on February 27, 2008.
Aakash Missile
  • Akash is a medium-range surface-to-air missile.
  • It is capable of intercepting up to the range of 30 km.
  • It can fly with supersonic speed- Mach 2.5.
  • It has a launch weight of 720 kg.
  • It can reach an altitude of 18km.
  • Anti-tank missile: Third-generation, fire-and-forget weapon for targeting and eliminating enemy tanks (range: 500 to 4000 meters).
  • Deployed from NAG missile carrier (NAMICA) on BMP-II platform, with up to six combat missiles.
  • NAMICA possesses amphibious capabilities.
  • Missile: 8 kg high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) tandem warhead.
  • Equipped with Imaging Infra-Red guidance system for night strike capabilities.
  • Versatile: Can be mounted on infantry vehicles.
  • Ongoing integration efforts for helicopter-launched version on HAL Dhruv platform.
  • The helicopter-launched variant is referred to as Helina, enhancing its adaptability across different combat scenarios.
  • The Agni series comprises surface-to-surface ballistic missiles capable of delivering both nuclear and conventional payloads.
  • Among them, Agni-1 through Agni-3 were completed under the program, while subsequent Agni missiles have been developed through separate initiatives. C
  • urrently, six operational missiles make up the Agni series.
VariantsRange Payload Fuel
Agni I700 km- 1200 km750kg to 1000kg Single-stage solid propellant
Agni-P(Agni-1 Prime)1,000 – 2,000 km1000kgTwo stages of solid propellant
Agni II2500 km1000kgTwo-and-a-half-stage solid propellant
Agni III3,500 km1500 kg to 2500 kg Two-stage solid propellant

Way Forward

Efforts are underway to strengthen leadership in the realm of guided weapon systems by focusing on cutting-edge technologies:

  • Precision and penetration capabilities are improving to outsmart anti-missile systems. This includes innovative trajectory adjustments facilitated by advancements in jet vane technology, atmospheric friction management, and sophisticated modeling in Maneuverable Reentry Vehicles (MaRVs).
  • Developers are working on advanced countermeasures like flares, chaff, jamming warheads, and receiver saturation techniques. These methods manipulate multispectral signatures to evade detection.
  • Scramjet Hypersonic Cruise Missiles integrate wings with scramjet ramjet-rocket combined cycle propulsion.

Read also: Cruise Missiles vs Ballistic Missiles

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