The Indian Ministry of Defence says that, once testing is completed, the Rudram-1 will be added to the Su-30MKI’s armory. It’s not known if there are plans to add it subsequently to other aircraft, too, but the Flanker is clearly the platform of choice for new weaponry, including the Astra beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile, and the air-launched version of the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile.
It’s also an important addition to India arsenal given that regional rival Pakistan received the MAR-1 anti-radiation missile that was developed by the Mectron company of Brazil. Following the signature of an acquisition contract in 2008, the missile was integrated with the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF’s) upgraded Mirage III/V ground-attack fighters, but apparently not on the JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter.
As well as demonstrating a new capability to Pakistan, the test of the missile could be a signal to China, with which India is currently locked in a border dispute in Ladakh, a Himalayan border area in the Kashmir region. It’s perhaps no coincidence that the test of the Rudram-1 comes in the wake of China deploying air defense assets to that region.
After all, the Rudram-1 is not the first indigenous weapon to be tested by India in recent weeks. It follows hot on the heels of a very long-range supersonic anti-submarine missile, and a hypersonic scramjet-powered vehicle. Other weapons tested of late comprise an extended-range version of the Brahmos cruise missile, a laser-guided anti-tank missile, and the nuclear-capable Shaurya ballistic missile.
Clearly, India is not only extremely active on a host of advanced missile programs but is also especially keen to publicize its successes in a field in which it’s still a relative newcomer.
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