India Successfully Tests New Air-Launched Ballistic Missile with 250 km Range

India successfully tests new 250km air-launched ballistic missile, Crystal Maze 2, boosting IAF's stand-off strike capabilities against enemy air defenses and strategic assets.

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India Successfully Tests New Air-Launched Ballistic Missile with 250 km Range

India Successfully Tests New Air-Launched Ballistic Missile with 250 km Range

India has achieved a significant milestone in its missile development program with the successful test of a new air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) called the Crystal Maze 2 or ROCKS. The missile, which has a strike range exceeding 250 km, was fired from a Su-30 MKI fighter jet during a recent test in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The Crystal Maze 2 is an extended stand-off range air-to-surface missile of Israeli origin. It is designed to strike high-value stationary and relocatable targets, such as long-range radars and air defense systems, even in GPS-denied environments. The missile provides the Indian Air Force (IAF) with a unique capability to hit land-based targets from a distance without crossing into enemy airspace.

According to defense officials, the Crystal Maze 2 missile can be equipped with either a penetration or blast fragmentation warhead. It is capable of destroying above-ground or well-protected underground targets, even in heavily surface-to-air defended areas. The missile's deployment strategy involves releasing it well outside the surface-to-air defended area, followed by a high-velocity trajectory to minimize the risk to the launching aircraft.

Why this matters: The successful test of the Crystal Maze 2 missile represents a significant enhancement to India's air-launched strike capabilities. It provides the IAF with a potent weapon to neutralize enemy air defenses and strategic assets from stand-off ranges, reducing the risk to its fighter jets during combat operations.

The IAF now plans to acquire a large number of these missiles through the 'Make in India' initiative, leveraging the technology acquired from Israel. The induction of the Crystal Maze 2 missile is expected to serve as a force multiplier for the IAF, enabling it to project power deep into enemy territory without putting its aircraft at risk.

India's Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is also developing an indigenous series of air-launched ballistic missiles called Rudram. The Rudram-2 is reported to have a range of 300 km, while the Rudram-3 is being designed to strike targets at distances exceeding 600 km.

Commenting on the successful test, a senior IAF official stated, "The Crystal Maze 2 missile test is a major capability boost for the Indian Air Force. It significantly enhances our ability to strike critical enemy targets from stand-off ranges. We look forward to inducting these missiles in large numbers and further strengthening our air power."

Key Takeaways

  • India successfully tested new 250 km air-launched ballistic missile 'Crystal Maze 2'.
  • Crystal Maze 2 can strike high-value targets without entering enemy airspace.
  • Missile can be equipped with penetration or blast fragmentation warheads.
  • IAF plans to acquire large numbers of Crystal Maze 2 missiles through 'Make in India'.
  • DRDO also developing indigenous Rudram series of air-launched ballistic missiles.