Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Bengaluru-based startup New Space Research and Technologies are working together to develop India’s upcoming Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM Hunter), which will be much more manoeuvrable than other conventional cruise missiles. It is optimised for high altitude flight.
The Hunter ALCM, which is currently being developed, has a 200 km range, can perform deep penetration strikes, and will be the first ALCM that can be recovered if it cannot locate its target using a parachute before being refuelled and released from the jet again. As several of the systems are already in the testing stage, Hunter ALCM is undergoing design optimization and will be prepared to conduct developmental cum user trials starting in 2024.
Additionally, HAL is developing an ALFA Pod that can hold 4 to 6 ALFA loitering weapons that can be fired from a launch aircraft and fly without power for a distance of a few kilometres before being released closer to their target.
At the Aero India 2021 trade show in Bangalore, HAL unveiled mock-ups of the Combat Air Teaming System, Cats family of Warrior devoted wingmen, Hunter ALCM, ALFA Pod, Air Launched Flexible Asset (ALFA), and a manned mothership Tejas Mk1 Light Combat Aircraft.