IAS Resources

IAS Score

IGMDP/UAVs /Submarines

Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) Submarines

IGMDP, UAVs and Submarines

• The Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) was conceived by renowned scientist Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam to enable India attain self-sufficiency in the field of missile technology. Keeping in mind the requirements of various types of missiles by the defense forces, the team recommended development of five missile systems.

The missiles developed under the programme were:­
1. Short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile Prithvi- The Prithvi missile is a family of tactical surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) and is India’s first indigenously developed ballistic missile. Development of the Prithvi began in 1983, and it was first test-fired on 25 February 1988 from Sriharikota, SHAR Centre, Pottisreeramulu Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh. It has a range of up to 150 to 300 km. The land variant is called Prithvi while the naval operational variant of Prithvi I and Prithvi II class missiles are code named Dhanush(meaning Bow)

2. Intermediate-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile Agni- The Agni missile is a family of Medium to Intercontinental range ballistic missiles developed by DRDO of India. The initial Technology demonstrator version had a range of 1500 km but were based on a solid and a liquid stage making for long preparation before firing. Learning from this the production variants of Agni are solid fuel based to allow for swift retaliation against adversaries.

3. Short-range low-level surface-to-air missile Trishul- Trishul is the name of a short range surface-to-air missile developed by India as a part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. It has a range of 9 km and is fitted with a 5.5 kg warhead. Designed to be used against low-level (sea skimming) targets at short range, the system has been developed to defend naval vessels against missiles and also as a short-range surface-to-air missile on land. Guidance consists of three different guiding beams, with the guidance handed over progressively to a narrower beam as the missile approaches the target.

4. Medium-range surface-to-air missile Akash- Akash is a medium range surface-to-air missile developed as part of India’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme to achieve self-sufficiency in the area of surface-to-air missiles. It is the most expensive missile project ever undertaken by the Union government in the 20th century. Development costs skyrocketed to almost US$120 million which is far more than other similar systems.

5. 3rd generation anti-tank missile Nag- Nag is India’s third generation “Fire-and-forget” anti-tank missile. It is an all weather, top attack missile with a range of 3 to 7 km.

India’s Missile System
Agni I – Agni I is a single stage, solid fuel, road and rail mobile, Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) using solid propulsion booster and a liquid propulsion upper stage derived from Prithvi. The Agni I has range of 700-800 kms.

Agni II – A gni II is an Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM). The range for Agni II is more than 2000 kms.

Agni III – A 2-stage IRBM capable of nuclear weapons delivery. The missile support a wide range of warhead configurations, with a 3,500 kms range and a total payload weight of 2490 kgs.

Agni-IV – It is a 2-stage missile powered by solid propellant. Its length is 20 meters and launches weight 17 tonnes. It can be fired from a road mobile launcher. Its full range is 4,000 km. Agni IV is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies that include indigenously developed ring laser gyro and composite rocket motor.

Agni-V – Agni-V is a solid fueled Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) developed by Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of India. It range is more than 5,500 km. Agni-V Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) has been designed with the addition of a 3rd composite stage to the 2-stage Agni-III missile. To reduce the weight it is built with high composite content. The 17.5-metre-long Agni-V would be a canister launch missile system so as to ensure that it has the requisite operational flexibility and can be swiftly transported and fired from anywhere.

Trishul – The Trishul (Trident) is a short-range, quick reaction, all weather surface-to-air missile designed to counter a low level attck

Akash – The Akash system is a medium-range surface-to-air missile with multi-target engagement capability carrying a 55 kgs multiple warhead capable of targeting 5 aircraft simultaneously up to 25 kms. It uses high-energy solid propellant for the booster and ram-rocket propulsion for the sustainer phase.

Nag – The Nag is a 3rd generation ‘fire-and-forget’ anti-tank missile with a range of 4-8 kms. It is developed in India as an anti-armour weapon employing sensor fusion technologies for flight guidance. In addition, HELINA (Helicopter Launched NAG) is the air-to-ground version of the NAG anti-tank missile integrated into the HAL built Dhruv Helicopters. The upgraded propulsion will enable HELINA to strike enemy armor at a distance of 7-8 kms

Prithvi – The Prithvi missile is the 1st indigenously built ballistic missile under India’s IGMDP with ranges of Prithvi I at 150 kms and II at 295 kms. Surface-to-surface battle field missile, Prithvi demonstrates higher lethal effects as compared to any equivalent class of missiles in the world displaying manoeuverable trajectory and high level capability with field interchangeable warheads.

BrahMos – Supersonic cruise missile, BrahMos, is being developed with Russia as a private joint-venture. BrahMos is a multi-platform cruise missile enabling it to strike from various types of land, sea and air-based platforms. It is among the fastest supersonic cruise missiles in the world with speeds ranging between Mach 2.5 – 2.8. BrahMos is a ‘fire and forget’ weapon, requiring no further guidance from the control centre once the target has been assigned and it is launched.

Nirbhay – A supplement to the BrahMos is the Nirbhay-a subsonic missile using a terrain-following navigation system to reach up to 1,000 kms. It is capable of being launched from multiple platforms on land, sea and air. Nirbhay will be a terrain hugging, stealth missile capable of delivering 24 different types of warheads depending on mission requirements.

Sagarika – It is a Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) with a range of 750 kms. Sagarika missile is being integrated with India’s nuclear powered Arihant-class submarine.

Shaurya – A variant of the K-15 Sagarika named Shaurya has been developed from ground up as a submarine-capable missile. This nuclear-capable missile aims to enhance India’s 2nd-strike capability. Shaurya missile can carry a one-tonne nuclear warhead over 750 kms and striking within 20-30 metres of its target.

Dhanush – The sea-based Dhanush is a short-range, sea-based, liquid propellant ballistic missile-known as the Naval version of Prithvi II. It is with a maximum range of approximately 350 kms.

Astra – The Astra is a beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile using a solid-propellant. In terms of size and weight, the Astra is the smallest missile developed by the DRDO. It is envisaged to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft at supersonic speeds in the head-on mode at a range of 80 kms. Astra has an active radar seeker to find targets, and electronic counter-measure capabilities which permits it to jam radar signals from an enemy surface-to-air battery, thus ensuring that it’s not tracked or shot down.

Prahaar – The Prahaar is India’s latest surface-to-surface missile with a range of 150 kms. The primary objective of the conventionally armed Prahaar missile is to bridge the gap between the unguided Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher (ranging 45 kms) and the guided Prithvi missile variants. Stated to be a unique missile, the Prahaar boasts of high maneuverability, acceleration and accuracy.


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are either controlled by ‘pilots’ from the ground or increasingly, autonomously following a pre-programmed mission.

UAVs basically fall into 2 categories:

• those that are used for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes and
• those that are armed with missiles and bombs
UAVs typically fall into one of 6 functional categories (although multi-role airframe platforms are becoming more prevalent)

Target and decoy – Providing ground and aerial gunnery a target that simulates an enemy aircraft or missile.

Reconnaissance – Providing battlefield intelligence

Combat – Providing attack capability for high-risk missions (see Unmanned combat air vehicle)

Logistics – UAVs specifically designed for cargo and logistics operation

Research and development – Used to further develop UAV technologies to be integrated into field deployed UAV aircraft

Civil and Commercial UAVs – UAVs specifically designed for civil and commercial applications

UAV of India
Nishant- Nishant is a multi mission Unmanned Aerial Vehicle with Day/Night capability used for battlefield surveillance and reconnaissance, target tracking & localization, and artillery fire correction.

Rustom- Rustom (Warrior) is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) being developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation.

UAV Panchi- It is the wheeled version of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Nishant, capable of taking-off and landing by using small airstrips. Panchi UAV has autonomous flight capabilities and is controlled from a user friendly Ground Control Station (GCS).

AURA – AURA is stealth UCAV, capable of releasing missiles, bombs and precision-guided munitions.

Applications of UAVs other than military applications
Drones are a rapidly growing form of technology, used for numerous purposes outside the military.

a. Remote sensing
b. Commercial aerial surveillance
c. Sports
d. Domestic policing
e. Oil, gas and mineral exploration and production
f. Disaster relief


A submarine is the quietest military platform and extremely tough to detect. Their main cover is their ability to move stealthily under water and keep an eye on enemy movement of vessels. Submarines are the most potent military platforms currently available even ahead of aircraft carriers which need a large entourage to protect it.

The nations which possess nuclear weapons, base their second strike capability (ability to strike back after being hit first by nuclear strike) on nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines.

How do submarines operate?
Submarines operate under water. They rely on sonar or sound waves for communication and detection. Each class of submarine operates over specific frequencies which are called as their signature and it’s highly guarded.

What is stealth technology?
Every military platform has a footprint which shows up on radar by which is used by adversaries to track it. So it is extremely important to minimise the footprint to protect our military assets and retain the element of surprise in case of an attack. For a submarine, stealth is the most important protection. Stealth is a relative concept. It can be increased relatively to varying levels by adopting several measures right from the platforms design to operational measures to reduce noise and vibrations to stay away from prowling radars and sonars.

Different submarine projects are:
• In 2005, India chose the Scorpene design, purchasing six submarines under Project 75 (P75). The project was necessitated by the dwindling number of submarines in the Indian Navy. Indian Navy needed replacement for the older Sindhughosh (Kilo) and Shishumar (U209) class of submarines.

B. Project 75(I)- Submarine Development
• The project 75I-class submarine is a follow on of the project 75 Kalvari-class submarine for the Indian Navy.Under this project Indian navy intends to acquire 6 diesel-electric submarines.

• Submarines in this class will also feature advanced Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) System which will enable them to stay submerged for longer duration and increasing its operational range substantially.

• Submarines are the ultimate stealth weapons. Despite advances in sonar technology over the decades, detecting, tracking and targeting submarines remains extremely difficult, particularly in the Indian Ocean where the salinity of the seas and the presence of thermal zones of variable water temperature, make submarine detection extremely difficult.

• Submarines make the detection and counter-detection even tougher. Designed to be extremely silent, the submarines can loiter under water for days, scouring the seas through long-range passive sonar signals, which detect the presence of other submarines and warships in the vicinity.

• Currently, six Scorpene submarines are being built at the state-owned Mazagon Docks in collaboration with DCNS of France (whose details got leaked from DCNS of France). The six new submarines for the P-75I is the next phase of the same submarine project and will be worth over $ 11.10 billion.

• Technical Superiority are –

– Advanced detection system
– Improved and optimized sensors
– Air independant propulsion vehicle which allow this submarine to underwater for longer durations
– It has VLS (Vertical Launch System) which enable ship to carry multiple Brahmos super sonic cruse missles
– It will be come under make in India category
– Reduced weight of vehicle

C. Project 15 B – Guided Missile Destroyer
• The Project 15B class of guided missile destroyers, an improved variant of the Kolkata-class destroyers, are being built by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), for the Indian Navy.

• The contract for the construction of four Project 15B destroyers was signed in January 2011. The keel for the first Project 15B ship, named INS Visakhapatnam (D 66), was laid in October 2013 and the vessel was launched in April 2015.

• The keel laying ceremony of second destroyer in class, INS Mormugao (D 67), was held in June 2015 and the vessel was launched at MDL shipyard in Mumbai, during September 2016.

• The 1st ship of Project-15B Guided Missile Destroyer, christened INS Visakhapatnam was launched on April 20, 2015 at Mazagon Dock Limited, Mumbai.

D. Project 28
• The Kamorta-class corvettes or Project 28 are a class of anti-submarine warfare corvettes currently in service with the Indian Navy. Built at Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata. They are the first anti-submarine warfare stealth corvettes to be built in India.

• Project 28 was approved in 2003, with construction of the lead ship, INS Kamorta commencing on 12 August 2005. Two of the four corvettes, INS Kamorta and INS Kadmatt were commissioned in 2014 and 2016 respectively. The remaining two, INS Kiltan and INS Kavaratti are under construction and slated to be completed by 2017.

Indian submarines
INS Arihant
• Arihant’s design is based on the Russian Akula- 1 Class submarine.
• Apart from capability to stay long periods under water( nuclear powered), it is equipped with K15, anti ship, land attack missiles

‘Sindhu Sadhana’:
• The 1st ever indigenously built Research Vessel (Ship) ‘ Sindhu Sadhana ‘ acquired recently by the CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, is a multi-disciplinary research vessel.

INS Vikrant
• INS Vikrant is the first aircraft carrier built in India and the first Vikrant-class aircraft carrier built by Cochin Shipyard for the Indian Navy.

Quick Contact