DRDO to Make Four Variants of NASM-MR Missile

Defence Industry

New Delhi: In a move aimed at narrowing the gap in capability between the Indian Navy and the PLA Navy (PLAN), the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been given permission to develop an indigenous anti-ship missile. The NASM-MR is a Harpoon class anti-ship missile with a longer range.

Although the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China is trying to engage the Indian military in the Himalayas, the real tussle for supremacy between the two Asian giants is being played out on the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean.

However, the Indian Navy, in its present condition, is miles behind its Chinese counterpart, the PLA Navy (PLAN). In recent years, China has provided a major push to the PLAN, which is now the biggest navy in the world in terms of number of ships.

Known as the Naval Anti-ship Missile-Medium range (NASM-MR), the missile will be developed as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative of the Indian government. This is being viewed as a significant step towards self-reliance in niche missile technology by India and the commitment of the Indian military to the goal of indigenisation in the defence sector.

NASM-MR is a Harpoon class anti-ship missile with a longer range. It will be initially developed as an air launched all-weather, over-the-horizon anti-ship missile to be used by fixed-wing fighter jets and Maritime Patrol Aircraft. However, three other variants of the NASM-MR are also in the pipeline.

To be powered by a solid-fuel rocket booster, the NASM-MR will be launched from frontline warships, which will provide a much longer range than the air-launched variant of the missile.

Thanks to the addition of a solid-fuel rocket booster, the NASM-MR will have the ability to hit targets up to 350 km away. The missile will also be cannisterised, and will be designed for attacking small- to medium-sized warships such as frigates, corvettes, and destroyers.

The third variant of the missile will comprise a solid-fuel rocket booster fitted inside a watertight launched capsule that can be fired from submarines. However, the range of the submarine-launched anti-ship variant of the missile may have a range which is 100 kilometres less than that of the ship-based variant.