At the end of 2021, India conducted two major missile tests: the first was the hypersonic weapon Shaurya, and the second was the Agni-P missile.
India is making great strides in upgrading its long-range strike arsenal. At the end of 2021, India conducted two major missile tests: the first was the hypersonic weapon Shaurya, and the second was the Agni-P missile. Both missile tests show that India is well on its way to equipping a more sophisticated nuclear arsenal with a wider variety of delivery systems.
The Shaurya missile is designed to provide Indian Armed forces with long-range missile strike capability. Hypersonic weapons such as Shaurya are likely to be highly effective in taking out enemy early radars, static military installations such as airbases and command and control facilities. It is speculated to be a land version of India’s Sagarika K-15 submarine-launched ballistic missile as both have similar ranges.
Shaurya is developed by Indian DRDO. It reportedly has a range of 700 to 1,900 km and is capable of carrying a payload of 200 to 1,000 kg conventional or nuclear warhead. This gives the potential to strike at very-long-range against any adversary. The system is stored in a composite canister, which makes it much easier to store for long periods without maintenance as well as to handle and transport. It also houses the gas generator to eject the missile from the canister before its solid propellant motors take over to hurl it at the intended target.
The missile has a length of 10 m, a diameter of 0.74 m. The propulsion system of the Shaurya uses a two stage solid propellants to attain a speed of Mach 7.5 and flight altitude of 40 km. It is also incorporated with advanced ring laser gyroscope, resulting in a good accuracy of 20-30 m Circular Error Probable.
The hypersonic speed of the missile offers minimal chance of getting destroyed by any interceptor missile. Besides, the missile is highly maneuverable like a cruise missile and has reduced signature, rendering it invisible to the satellites to a very high extent.
The missile, encased in a canister, is mounted on a single vehicle, which has only a driver’s cabin, and the vehicle itself is the launch platform. The vehilce is equipped with a Tatra diesel engine with 347 horsepower, for a maximum road speed of up to 80 km/h, a range of 650 km. Placing the missiles on a mobile system means they can be deployed anywhere and are very difficult to track by enemy forces.
Shaurya missile can fly at the hypersonic speeds of Mach 7.5 or 9,261 kilometers per second even at low altitudes. This staggering speed means Shaurya missile can cover entire 700 kilometers in less than 500 seconds which makes it impossible for enemy radars or anti-missile defences.