India’s missile development programme is going through a rough patch, with another snag hitting the home-made quick reaction surface-to-air missile (QRSAM) during tests at the Balasore range in Odisha this week.
The QRSAM system, being developed as an add-on to the Akash air defence missiles that are already in service with the Army and Air Force, has now undergone four tests, of which at least two have been unsuccessful.
Sources said during the latest test, the missile took off from its launcher successfully, but rolled uncontrollably during flight before ditching into the Bay of Bengal. The missile is being developed by DRDO’s Hyderabad missile complex, and top officials were present at the test site during the trial.
It is learnt that the DRDO leadership team on missile systems is studying the failure and is trying to find the root cause of the problem. Previous trials of the missile were conducted in June, July and December last year.
As reported by ThePrint, during the 22 December test, the missile hit turbulence within 1.5 seconds of taking off, as an actuator did not respond to a software command. The QRSAM is supposed to take down fast moving incoming air targets like missiles and fighter jets at extremely short notice.
India has been planning to showcase the Akash as a Made in India missile that is available for exports. In fact, the missile is being showcased at the Defence Expo near Chennai this week to possible customers who will be visiting the show. In addition, the Indo-Russian Brahmos missile is also being displayed at the India pavilion during the event, as an export option to friendly foreign nations.
The QRSAM is a recent DRDO project that was undertaken to meet demands of both the Air Force and the Army. The services had requested for imports to meet urgent requirements for air defence missiles, which were turned down after DRDO assured that it could develop the system indigenously.