Imagine a war scenario in which miniaturised missiles equipped with Precision-Guided Munitions (PGMs) are unleashed from a mother missile to take out select enemy targets like an ammunition depot while avoiding collateral damage.
A mother missile acts as a “force multiplier” and to achieve the desired result, each miniaturised missile will have a seeker to ensure its independent motion, irrespective of the mother missile's motion.
Seekers, which are of two types — radio-frequency and infra-red, enable a missile to acquire, track and home in on to the target. They are required for all tactical missiles (less than 300 km range).
Scientists at the Research Centre Imarat (RCI), a key laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation's (DRDO) missile complex here, have embarked on developing such seekers to eventually equip mother missiles with smaller missiles packed with PGMs.
The mandate of the RCI is to deliver avionic systems for all missiles, including anti-ballistic systems and anti-aircraft missiles.
In a bid to conduct trials without using the mother missile, a Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV) has been imported to be used as a Technology Demonstrator for the project. A flight trial was conducted at the Integrated Test Range using the RPV along with a recoverable tow body by providing the vehicle the same velocity of a mother missile.
Good results were obtained from that exercise, RCI Director S.K. Chaudhuri told The Hindu on Sunday. More such trials would be carried out in stages to check the guidance, control and inertial navigation systems.
By the end of 2013, a crucial trial of the RPV with missile-launched PGMs to hit a target with both IIR (Imaging infrared) and mmW (millimteric Wave) seekers was being planned. Later, a flight test with a mother missile would be conducted, he said.
Another frontier technology area in which scientists have begun work is to design and develop ‘Low Probability of Intercept Radar Seeker' to equip anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles.
This seeker will enable the missile to escape detection and jamming by enemy radars. Currently, Russia and the U.S. have such seekers, a senior RCI scientist said.
A few months ago, a major success was achieved when anti-tank Nag missile was flight-tested with an indigenously-developed mmW seeker.