DRDO’s conventional ballistic missile design ready, awaits nod for development | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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DRDO’s conventional ballistic missile design ready, awaits signal for development

Sep 02, 2022 08:34 AM IST

India needs a land-based conventional ballistic missile to deter any aircraft carrier-based threat from the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea while packing a punch against land forces across the LAC.

With Chinese land-based conventional ballistic missile arsenal rapidly expanding, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has finalized the design for a 1,500-kilometer range conventionally armed ballistic missile with an anti-ship variant.

File photo of Agni-5 nuclear ballistic missile. India does not have a conventional ballistic missile to counter the rapidly growing arsenal of China.
File photo of Agni-5 nuclear ballistic missile. India does not have a conventional ballistic missile to counter the rapidly growing arsenal of China.

While the DRDO is awaiting a green signal from the Narendra Modi government to move to the development stage, the still unnamed conventionally armed missile will deter any ship-based threat in the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, and Arabian Sea. It will also counter any land-based threat from across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Yunnan provinces.

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While India has an arsenal of nuclear cruise and ballistic missiles up to 5000 km range from land and up to 3500 km range from sea-based deterrent, it does not have any conventional ballistic missile to tackle the adversary on land and on high seas. The missile will not only deter any carrier-based strike group from threatening India from the Indian Ocean but also provide land-based protection to its own aircraft carriers in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea through coastal deployment.

The PLA has a growing arsenal of conventional land-based missiles and launchers with a 4,000 km range Dong Feng 26, which is the first and only land-based missile capable of targeting an American air force base in the US territory of Guam in the Indo-Pacific. Called Guam killer by Chinese propaganda media, the DF-26 missile provides a deterrent to PLA against carrier-based strike forces and airborne invasion from a significant distance away from the east coast of China. The other Chinese conventional missile is DF 21 D with a range of 1550 km and with a maneuverable re-entry vehicle for greater accuracy. Dubbed as the world’s first anti-ship ballistic missile, the DF-21 D is referred to by Chinese propaganda media as a carrier killer to threaten US Navy aircraft carriers conducting freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea.

With Chinese carrier-based strike forces expected to enter the Indian Ocean area by 2025 to match President Xi Jinping’s ambition to become global superpower, India needs a conventional intermediate-range ballistic missile to target any sea-based threat to the country 's over 7,000-kilometer coastline apart from island territories. The missile will add punch to India’s submarine based conventional ballistic missile like BA-02 with a range of over 700 km.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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