After registering significant success with conventional missile systems, India is all set to test its first laser-guided missile at the Interim Test Range, Balasore.
The missile, Sudarshan, is the latest weapon system developed indigenously to occupy the niche of a precision delivery mechanism. It can neutralise any target in a 800-1,000 km range with a zero margin of error.
Developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment, Bangalore, Sudarshan is a versatile missile that can be used by the army, navy and air force. It suits the requirements of the artillery for a long-distance strike weapon. The navy can also fire it from an onboard launcher.
“The first version will use a ground-based launcher. However, subsequent ones could be fired from a flying fighter or drone. This will enhance the range,” a source told Express.
Sudarshan will use a laser of a specific frequency bandwidth to locate the target. The laser creates a heat signature on the target. The missile recognises the signature and homes in on it even if the target is moving, sources said. “The target can be spotlighted using laser beamed from a ship or air. The onboard systems can light it up and the missile follows the reflected light to reach targets that need pinpoint accuracy,” said the source.
However, unlike the practice of giving continuous laser guidance to a missile using an aircraft or a handheld designator, Sudarshan’s instrumentation enables it to chase a target once the navigation systems lock in on it. The ADEis equipping the missile with global positioning system technology. Like all modern missiles, it will have a three-dimensional locking mechanism using latitude, longitude and elevation.