Reasons for being in news
The technology demonstrator flight test of ‘Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR)’ propulsion based missile has been carried out successfully from the Launch Center-III of ITR, Chandipur, Orissa recently.
About SFDR missile
Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet tactical Air launched Missile is a new breed of an Air-to-Air missile which India has been jointly developing with Russia. SFDR aka Astra-2 is India’s first at Next generation beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) which will incorporate booster-ram jet sustainer propulsion system, which will propel new missile in the same class as MBDA’s Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile.
SFDR stunning performance will be achieved through its unique ramjet propulsion system – solid fuel, variable flow, ducted rocket advanced flight control system which will give it extra reach there by allowing it to engage targets at very long ranges. This ‘ramjet’ motor provides the missile with thrust all the way to target intercept, providing the largest No-Escape Zone of any air-to-air missile.
Ducted Ramjet Propulsion Technology is capable of producing higher thrust levels during acceleration phase due to higher maximum fuel flow rate which results into shorter acceleration time to hypersonic cruise conditions.
Comparison of Conventional Rocket Motor with SFDR
Conventional Rocket Motor based BVRAAMs have higher burning out rate since it works in the same amount of thrust levels from the moment it is fired, which means it can run out of fuel when it reaches its target in longer range and highly maneuverable targets can outrun the missile in the last phase if missile is fired from a long range.
Ramjets, by contrast, maintain their peak energy state for longer, delivering power throughout the flight, providing a high – though slightly slower – average speed and long ranges over a wide operational envelope, from sea level to high altitude.
Unlike traditional rocket motor,SFDR can throttle its engine during different phases of flight especially while approaching its target it can throttle up and able to maneuver and attack even fast maneuvering targets.
Not only does this mean the SFDR will have more energy to maneuver during the endgame of the engagement, but this capability also drastically increases the size of the missile’s “no escape zone.”
Significance of SFDR
The SFDR is indeed a high priority project for DRDO and future requirement for Indian Armed Forces w.r.t evolving threats of India’s unpredictable & unstable neighbors having no respect for India’s sovereignty. The future of missile warfare indeed belongs to air-breathing engines like ramjet, scramjet, shcramjet and pulse detonation engine.
SFDR BVRAAM Will help in maintaining the Air supremacy against Pakistan by rendering their Air Power obsolete but also help IAF to achieve parity with PLAAF against their new unknown Long range Air to Air Missile .