Ministry of Defence
- Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) successfully carried out a flight demonstration based on Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) technology.
- Test conducted at Chandipur coast of Odisha on March 05, 2021.
- All the subsystems, including the booster motor and nozzle-less motor, performed as expected.
- During the test, many new technologies were proven, including Solid Fuel based Ducted Ramjet technology.
- Successful demonstration of Solid Fuel based Ducted Ramjet technology has provided DRDO with a technological advantage which will enable it to develop long range air-to-air missiles.
- At present, such technology is available only with a handful of countries in the world.
- During the test, air launch scenario was simulated using a booster motor. Subsequently, the nozzle-less booster accelerated it to the required Mach number for Ramjet operation.
- The performance of the missile was monitored using the data captured by Electro Optical, Radar and Telemetry instruments deployed by ITR and confirmed successful demonstration of the mission objectives.
- The launch was monitored by senior scientists of various DRDO labs, including Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL), Research Centre Imarat (RCI) and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory(HEMRL).
What is ramjet technology?
- A ramjet, sometimes referred to as a flying stovepipe or an athodyd (aero thermodynamic duct)
- A ramjet is a form of air-breathing jet engine that uses the vehicle’s forward motion to compress incoming air for combustion without a rotating compressor.
- Fuel is injected in the combustion chamber where it mixes with the hot compressed air and ignites.
- A ramjet-powered vehicle requires an assisted take-off like a rocket assist to accelerate it to a speed where it begins to produce thrust.
- Ramjets work most efficiently at supersonic speeds around Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound) and can operate up to speeds of Mach 6.
- However, the ramjet efficiency starts to drop when the vehicle reaches hypersonic speeds.
What is Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet?
- The Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet is a missile propulsion system that includes a thrust modulated ducted rocket with a reduced smoke nozzle-less missile booster.
- The thrust modulation in the system is achieved using a hot gas flow controller.
- The system utilises a solid fuelled air-breathing ramjet engine.
- As of 2017, the missile system has a range of about 120 kilometres at an altitude of 8 kilometres, with a speed of 2.3-2.5 Mach.
- As per International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), this kind of propulsion system drastically enhances the range with higher average speed.
- The missiles which use such system are also able to carry larger payload due to absence of an oxidizer. Unlike solid-propellant rocket, the Ramjet takes up oxygen from the atmosphere during flight.
- Officially, the technology is being developed to power future Indian air-to-air missiles.
- However, the technology can also be applied to surface-to-air missiles.
- In its current form, the SFDR-based missile first requires to be boosted into a high-altitude trajectory to simulate aircraft-launch conditions.
- Subsequently, the nozzle-less booster fires up and guides the missile through its desired trajectory.