The indigenous Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is expected to complete user trials in the next six months and be ready for production next year, according to a defence official.
The QRSAM is a critical requirement for the Army, which has been looking to replace existing air defence systems.
“The QRSAM is the country’s first indigenous mobile air defence system and meant for the Army’s Strike Corps to be mobile on vehicles. The development activity is complete and preparations are on for user trials. The Defence Acquisition Council has given conditional approval,” an official said. “In the next six months we want to finish user trials and by next year we will be ready by production,” the official added.
As per Chapter 4 of the new Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020, if items are developed by a production agency there are single-stage user trials, which will further speed up the development process, the official stated.
The QRSAM has a range of 30 km and can target an altitude of up to 10 km. The system is currently 90% indigenous and will reach 99% incrementally. The whole software is indigenous and the code and logic everything built here, the official said.
The radar and control systems are manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), launcher by Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and the missiles by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). Some electronics like IC, electro-optic system and detector are currently imported. “They will also be indigenised,” the official added.
The DRDO carried out two successful test firings in November after which it said the missile precisely hit a Banshee target and destroyed it completely. “This was achieved with a new indigenously developed technology of Laser Proximity Fuse (LPF) for pin-pointed accuracy of hit. Till date, all missiles used Radio Proximity Fuzes,” said another official. “The LPF was developed by Instruments Research and Development Establishment (IRDE) in the last two years with a specific push by [DRDO] Chairman Satheesh Reddy,” he added.
The first official explained that the laser beam ensures the missile cannot be jammed. Akash was the country’s first automated air defence system and QRSAM is the first indigenous on-the-move air defence system, he observed.
The system gives 360 degree coverage and has been customised on domestic Ashok Leyland 8x8 vehicles. The launcher has six missiles and can target six different targets in 360 degrees, the official said, adding that all components, the radar, launcher and support vehicles are mobile.
In November, the first test achieved the milestone of a direct hit while the second test proved the performance parameters of warhead, the DRDO had stated. The flight test was conducted in the deployment configuration of the system comprising of launcher, fully automated command and control system, surveillance system and multi-function radars.