Saturday, November 15, 2008

The ADM Detailed

Back in February 1998 when India decided to co-develop with Russia the 290km-range supersonic BrahMos multi-role cruise missiles (MRCM), Pakistan decided to counter the BrahMos with two distinct types of cruise missiles—the 700km-range land- and sea-launched Babur/Hatf-7 (a scaled-down variant of China’s 1,500km-range DH-10A subsonic cruise missile), and the 350km-range air-launched Ra’ad/Hatf-8 air-launched cruise missile whose design, engineering development and series production tools and processes were reportedly acquired off-the-shelf from South Africa’s Denel Aerospace. Ten years later, while the Babur and Ra’ad have already entered operational service with all three armed services of Pakistan, in India’s case, only the land-launched and ship-launched variants of BrahMos has been inducted into service by the Indian Army and Navy (the latter did so in mid-2005), while the air-launched variant will be service-qualified only by 2009 and that too by the Navy (on board its eight Tu-142M Mod 4 maritime surveillance/ASW aircraft), not by the Indian Air Force (IAF). It is believed that the India-Russia joint venture BrahMos Aerospace Ltd is now no longer pursuing the prospect of qualifying the BrahMos on the IAF’s Su-30MKI air dominance combat aircraft. In a way, this portends well for the IAF as its operational requirements never called for acquiring BrahMos-type MRCMs (it already has standoff precision-guided munitions like the Kh-59MK and Popeye guided air-to-surface missiles and Harpy loitering anti-radar drones), but has instead, since late 1998, called for the acquisition of a family of multi-role supersonic ‘air-delivered munitions’ (ADM) with ranges of between 700km and 1,200km and capable of being armed with both conventional blast-fragmentation warheads as well as 300kT tactical nuclear warheads. The IAF’s reasons for acquiring the ADMs and not the BrahMos are primarily two-fold: the BrahMos’s target engagement envelope is limited to 290km and it can armed with only non-nuclear warheads due to Russia’s adherence to MTCR guidelines; and weight-cum- payload carriage limitations that have resulted in the BrahMos having the potential to be flight-qualified only on board the Su-30MKI.

The project to develop the ADM, whose existence has yet to be publicly acknowledged by either the Ministry of Defence (MoD) or the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), officially took off in late 2006, with the Hyderabad-based Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) and Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) and Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE) being the principal DRDO-owned laboratories that are involved in the ADM’s R & D effort. Believed to have been roped in as technical consultants-cum-industrial partners are Israel Aerospace Industries & RAFAEL Armament Development Authority. Based on the IAF’s Air Staff Qualitative Requirements, the conventionally armed ADM (carrying a 300kg warhead) is required to have a range of 700km and be flight-qualified on both the Su-30MKI and the Dassault Mirage 2000TH. The tactical nuclear warhead-armed ADM will be required to have a range of 1,200km. Both variants will each be powered by a liquid-fuelled ramjet incorporating integrated accelerators. The ADM will have a maximum weight of no more than 900kg, length of 5.4 metres, diameter of 300mm, width of 0.98 metres, and cruise speed of Mach 2.2 at an altitude of 200 metres, which will increase to Mach 3 in its terminal cruise phase at an altitude of 50 metres. The conventionally armed ADM will use a tri-mode target homing system for precision-strike lethality and will comprise an imaging infra-red (IIR) seeker, a millimeter-wave radar and a semi-active laser homing device. For mid-course guidance use will be made of a ring laser gyro-based inertial navigation system coupled to a GPS receiver.--Prasun K. Sengupta


Anonymous said...

"The project to develop the ADM, whose existence has yet to be publicly acknowledged by either the Ministry of Defence (MoD)..."

how do u know this sir? can you please provide source? i never read this in any news other than here. how did you get the more precise details like rage et all?
will it be flight qualified for tejas? when will it be tested? im sure u can answer these too if you could provide so much info on the rest.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

The operational requirement for a nuclear-armed ADM was officially highlighted way back in early 1999 in the Strategic Review of India's draft nuclear doctrine. The Review clearly stated as well what was expected of the ADM in terms of performance. It will not be on board the Tejas LCA. Flight-testing should begin by 2010.

Sontu said...

I am really surprised with the spec....specially with the Max Weight..i.e. 900 KG ?
I feel it's next to impossible to have a supersonic cruise missile of 900 KG class to deliver
1. 300 KG warhead at range 1200 km
2. also to have Mach 2.2 sustained flight(at 200 Mts ALT) for 1000 Kms and then Mach 3 at terminal phase.
I feel the weight should be more than 1.5 ton to deliver these specs?
Could you please comment and clarify ?


Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Sontu: I agree with you as far as the design challenges go. As far as IAI and RAFAEL are concerned, they've advised the DRDO about being more realistic in terms of the achievable performance levels and feel that a range of 900km and a cruise altitude of no more than 5,000 feet will be more realistic targets. But the weight ceiling of 900kg is seen by the Israelis as being realistic.

Sontu said...

Thanks Prasun,For clarification..let's wait till DRDO/IAF releases some thing officially on this.

but it will be a very interesting development...B-coz a Mach 3 class ALCM with 1000 Kms range is very very valuable and reliable tool to maintain the edge.

I am not aware of any such equivallent ALCM is available with any other country even Russia or even being

Do you have any update ?


Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Sontu: I'm only aware of the French and Israelis being involved in developing tactical ADMs that are weight-budgeted since both countries do not have the kind of airborne platforms (like the Tu-22M3 or B-1B) that can carry heavier ALCMs/ADMs and therefore they have to use tactical luanch platforms like the F-15/F/A-18 or Mirage 2000/Rafale. As India too has similar limitations it makes sense for the DRDO to team up with the Israelis to co-develop the ADM.

Anonymous said...

All this news is fine, but with our convoluted and inefficient testing process, when do u think they will be inducted?

Unless they transform to actual weapons and provide some ground results, Paks and Chinkis would still be ahead of us. Till then we will have to be satisfied with this cool, black pictures!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

They're already ahead thanks to China's fast-tracking of the deployment of its Beidou regional GPS satellite constellation! In India the government of the day can't even agree on ways to meet the armed forces' Pay Commission/Warrant of Precedence expectations, or construct a network of roads along the Sino-Indian border even eight years after they were financially sanctioned!
The problem is not the DRDO or its activities. The problem is the total lack of strategic visioning among successive Indian governments and their belief that civilisational existence/influence precedes territorial integrity. When this is the case, there's no proper understanding of the concept of border management. The Chinese on the other hand have been so obsessed with this concept that they built the Great Wall eons ago! See the existential difference between the two countries in terms of their respective thought processes?

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,

Any timeline given for this missile's test launch? 2009/2011?

- Vikas

Rahul Singh said...

Isn’t pic is scale model of Novator’s ‘Meteorite’ MRCM? Or our ADM is based on meteorite’s basic design or it bears similarity same way AKASH bears to 3M9 Kvadrat?

Anonymous said...

hey Prasun! are u seriously saying that we can use a 300 KT warhead in a tactical role? Its a city-buster man.

Anonymous said...

"The operational requirement for a nuclear-armed ADM was officially highlighted way back in early 1999 in the Strategic Review of India's draft nuclear doctrine. The Review clearly stated as well what was expected of the ADM in terms of performance. It will not be on board the Tejas LCA. Flight-testing should begin by 2010."

are yaar, read what u say; it is an operational REQUIREMENT but that doesnt mean its in development!!!!

Even so, how do you say it will be tested in 2010???? If thats also the requirement, u shd know by now that not a single core system has been succesfully produced on or before its envisaged time of requirement!!

come on man gimme some answers

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Rahul Singh: The photo of the ADM is a conceptual design unveiled by RAFAEL two years ago at Eurosatory 2006. The Meteorite shown at last years MAKS 2007 expo is much bigger and I think it is from NPOM, not from Novator.

To Anon@3:02AM: The 300kT yield mentioned for the warhead comes from the Draft Nuclear Doctrine/Strategic Defence Review. Apart from that I'm not privy ro any other data (design or perfrmance) of the ADM's N-warhead.

To Anon@3:27AM: By mid-2009 one should begin hearing more about the ADM and the Israeli link, unless one can make it to Aero India 2009 next February and talk to IAI/RAFAEL officials who are in the loop for the ADM project. You have to approach them for definitive answers in case you have doubts about what i've said in the story.

Anonymous said...

@all, is the ajai shukla still alive?

y is not prasun sengupta come on livefist and commenting anymore?? did he and shiv aroo r fights?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@9:30AM: As far as I know, Ajai may be facing network accessibility problems in the area where he's now based and that may account for him facing difficulties in updating his blog.
As for Shiv Aroor, rest assured there's nothing of the sort of scenario you're implying. No one is fighting with anyone as there never was any reason to. So what's the fuss all about?

Anonymous said...

no fuss actually. i was just asking 2 questions if ajai is still available and is there rifts between shiv and you. the reason is y now u r not commenting in his blog? i notice after u start ur blog u and shiv atopped talking nobody replies in the others blog. it may be because u now nolonger feed shivs blog anymore like u used to.

urgent news said...

Prasun our almighty all knowing man.. can u please verify this following news?

You can read it by clicking on my name above

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@10:08AM: Rest assured there's no rift betwen me and any other blogger.

To Urgent News: You're giving me far more credit than I deserve. To the best of my knowledge the Sudarshan is a laser-guidance kit for conventional dumb bombs. Such bombs can also be fitted with GPS guidance kits and glide-kits for extended ranges. You can find additional info on the Sudarshan at:

Anonymous said...

ok y den u dont comment on aroor blog?

max said...

Nice info. Never heard of this development before.

Shriya said...

Ok thank you dear. so training is done in Russia at present? The new simulators will be acquired from Russia? I heard some company in India was developing them on partnership. is it manufactured by them (forgot who)