DRDO SFDR Missiile:- India’s Next Gen Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet Air to Air Missile


In a major breakthrough in missile technology, India on Wednesday successfully carried out the first test of a new surface-to-air missile with nozzle less booster making its mark as a military superpower in South East Asia region. Indigenously designed and developed by the country’s premier research agency – Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the fastest missile in its class is capable of neutralising fast moving aerial targets.

Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet tactical Air launched Missile is a new breed of an Air-to-Air missile which India has been jointly developing with good friend Russia. SFDR aka Astra-2 is India’s first at Next generation beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) which will incorporate booster-ram jet sustainer propulsion system, which will propel new missile in the sameclass as MBDA’s Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile.

The missile flew in its intended trajectory at a speed of Mach 3 (thrice the speed of sound) and performed as expected perfectly validating the new indigenous technology. “It was a booster phase test of the missile and the mission was a major milestone for the strategic missile programme. The nozzle less booster and SFDR were tested successfully. We can now master the technology which will boost several next-generation weapon systems,” a defence official told The New Indian Express over the phone from New Delhi.

SFDR BVRAAM Will help in maintaining the Air supremacy against Pakistan by rendering their Air Power obsolete but also help IAF to achieve parity with PLAAF against their new unknown Long range Air to Air Missile .
SFDR stunning performance will be achieved through its unique ramjet propulsion system – solid fuel, variable flow, ducted rocket advanced flight control system will give it extra reach there by allowing it to engage targets at very long ranges. This ‘ramjet’ motor provides the missile with thrust all the way to target intercept, providing the largest No-Escape Zone of any air-to-air missile.

Until recently, a schematics of DRDO SFDR has been found inside DRDO issued documents. The design scheme is very similar to that of Meteor BVRAAM with two air ducts, although DRDO’s 250kg SFDR is around 75kg heavier than 185kg Meteor. The project has already excited Indian military news followers and missile experts have termed it as “Desi Meteor”.

According to Defence Analyst Ranesh Rajan Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet Propulsion Technology is mostly used during the acceleration phase of Hypersonic missile which provides a significant increase in the missile average velocity when compared to conventional liquid fuel ramjets.

Rajan also explains that Ducted Ramjet Propulsion Technology is capable of producing higher thrust levels during acceleration phase due to higher maximum fuel flow rate which results into shorter acceleration time to hypersonic cruise conditions.

Technology Behind SFDR

Conventional Rocket Motor based BVRAAMs have higher burning out rate since it works in the same amount of thrust levels from the moment it is fired, which means it can run out of fuel when it reaches its target in longer range and highly maneuverable targets can outrun the missile in the last phase if missile is fired from a long range.

Ramjets, by contrast, maintain their peak energy state for longer, delivering power throughout the flight, providing a high – though slightly slower – average speed and long ranges over a wide operational envelope, from sea level to high altitude.

Unlike traditional rocket motor,SFDR can throttle its engine during different phases of flight especially while approaching its target it can throttle up and able to maneuver and attack even fast maneuvering targets.

Not only does this mean the SFDR will have more energy to maneuver during the endgame of the engagement, but this capability also drastically increases the size of the missile’s “no escape zone.” Basically,

In Picture- The Missile on the Ground launcher and the Air Intake system in the second.

Is the ground launched SFDR missile variant none other than India’s mysterious DRDO XR-SAM?

For times, SFDR was thought to be only an Air-to-Air Missile, until a schematics of ground launched variant of SFDR from a DRDO issued document was found recently. It shows a 250 kg SFDR missile mounted on a large 450 kg booster. Meanwhile, in an official missile poster put on display by DRDO mentions about XR-SAM, although no further information or pics on XR-SAM was provided on the poster. Saurav Jha, a prominent Indian Defence Journalist confirmed that DRDO’s XR-SAM have same range capability to that of S400 system’s 48N6 SAM boasting a range of 250km.  the Ground Launched SFDR Missile (GL-SFDR) can easily attain a range of 250 km, which matches the range capability of ongoing DRDO Project XR-SAM. Although this theoretical assumption makes sense that GL-SFDR is XR-SAM, but there’s still no substantial evidence regarding it, unless and until DRDO reveals more data on highly secretive XR-SAM project.


Maturing of DRDO SFDR missile and its variants is still some years away with Captive Flight Trials (CFTs) hopefully at the end of 2018. Final SFDR Products could differ from the specs provided. The SFDR is indeed a high priority project for DRDO and future requirement for Indian Armed Forces w.r.t evolving threats of India’s unpredictable & unstable neighbors having no respect for India’s sovereignty. The future of missile warfare indeed belongs to air-breathing engines like ramjet, scramjet, shcramjet and pulse detonation engine.

The Ramjet powered SFDR is being readied for ground testing. And just hope all goes well with this one and joins the IAF Arsenal in the future.




This Post excerpt has been taken From Various articles and No Man Land Site

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