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Introducing STAR. This is the first implementation of the Liquid Fuel Ramjet (LFRJ) engine. STAR stands for Supersonic TARget. This will be surface launched (with a booster) and will serve as a supersonic target for A2A and S2A missiles. Capable of 2.4M.
Next in line: S2S, A2S and AShM variants. The air launched versions will have a smaller booster. My guesstimate is that total weight with booster for air launched versions will be around 750 kgs. This will allow carriage on light and medium weight fighters.
Since some have asked, let me answer in the main thread. There is no superior/inferior among SFDR/LFRJ. The solid-fueled gives more energy per unit volume. It is also allows easier storage & more flight cycles. So, it is ideal for A2A & S2A missiles like SFDR and Akash. (1/n)
SFDRs not only allow fast acceleration, but are very efficient in sustaining the speed because most of the oxidizer is derived from the atmosphere. Hence its efficiency is one of the highest. That's why Meteor/SFDR have the longest range/highest energy among A2A missiles. (2/n)
However, there are challenges. The most difficult of which is throttle-ability. So, if I had to make a cruise missile, my throttle-requirements for most efficient flight will differ along the flight path. (3/n)
SFDRs have limited throttle-ability. The sustainer is semi-oxidized. It passes into the combustion chamber in the gaseous form. So, it can be regulated to a limited extent. But, this semi oxidization lowers the ISP of the fuel. (4/n)
Both of the above reasons put together make LFRJ motors more efficient when range and endurance are primary criterion rather than acceleration and storage. That's why Brahmos and now STAR-cruise-missile adapt the liquid fuel based ramjet motors. (5/n)
Both will use a booster to accelerate to the ramjet operating speed beyond which booster is ejected and the missile will carry on. The LFRJ design will allow us to reach smaller scale missiles than Brahmos, and more importantly autonomy in this crucial technology. (6/n)
I wanted to share some other details too. India has been working on this technology for well over a decade now. The initial version was supposed to have two chin-mounted intakes at 90-degrees. An engine with two matched intakes was also studied. (7/n)
The very first papers on the technology only spoke about WTT testing to collaborate CFD tools. A lot of work was carried out within DRDL, NAL and IISc. The tools are now mature and were used e.g. to study separation of Astra Mk1 from Su-30. (8/n).
Nobody will give you these tools if you do ToT and screwdrivergiri. And no body will give you these men and women. Anyways, I digress. Right now, what I shared are diagrams of WT models of the final missile. These are for studying the inlet ramps etc. (9/n).
The other big challenge for the liquid engine is the fuel. They have developed that as well. DRDL and AFAIK DIAT were involved and the fuel has the right ISP, density, storability etc. The engine has also been bench tested a few times already (n/n).
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