India ramps up Tactical Missile development; Validates Manik engine capabilities

India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is spearheading the nation’s efforts to up its missile game. In a similar attempt, DRDO recently carried out the flight test of its Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile (ITCM).

The ITCM test flight, which was reportedly conducted in February this year, successfully validated the Manik engine equipped in it.

What is ITCM & Manik?

The Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile (ITCM) is based on the Nirbhay cruise missile. Just like Nirbhay, the ICTM is powered by Small Turbofan Engines also known as Manik Engines. The STFE have been developed by the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) of DRDO.

The ITCM is a technology demonstrator programme structured to validate the capabilities of the Manik Engines. Along with that, the programme also aids in testing the indigenously developed Radio Frequency (RF) seekers among other sub-systems.

The Manik engine is a bypass engine with an unmixed nozzle arrangement. The DRDO-made engine is designed for applications involving unmanned aerial vehicles. The engine boasts of advanced features such as Digital Engine Control System, Advanced Fuel Control System and Pyro systems. The 400 kgf thrust-class STFE is also capable of starting mid-air with Pyro.

On the missile development front, India is making steadfast progress with the help of key defence development organisations. In a major acquisition proposal, the Indian Navy is looking forward to get over 200 BrahMos missiles. The Navy is planning to equip all its warships with the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles. During Aero India 2023, the Bandhan Ceremony witnessed the launch of Vertically Launch Short Range Surface-to-Air Missile (VLSRSAM) among eight other product launches.

In January this year, the Prithvi-II Short Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM) went through a successful training launch. The training launch of the nuclear-capable Prithvi II missile validated all operational and technical parameters of the missile by striking its target with high precision.

The ITCM launch successfully tested the STFE and validated its operational capabilities which cleared its path for integration into the under-development Long-Range Land Attack Cruise Missile (LRLACM). The test also validated DRDO’s capabilities of designing state-of-the-art engines.

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