DRDO has been carrying out Research and Development to develop a missile based on the Liquid Fuel Ramjet Engine for STAR Supersonic Target, a target missile capable of hitting Mach 2.5 speed to help surface warship crews practice how to detect and defeat incoming supersonic anti ship missiles.
Star can be launched from the ground and ships using a Catapult launched system and has a range of 55 to 175km with Radar Cross Section of 0.2 to 1.92metre and a shelf life of 10 years.
DRDO also has plans to develop air launched variants of STAR Supersonic Target that can be used as Anti AWACS and Anti Radiation missiles for the entire Tejas Mk1A and Mk2 fleet.
The baseline STAR variant is already at prototype stages and likely will be tested later this year. Baseline STAR uses a booster in the first stage and then moves to Liquid Fuel Ramjet (LFRJ) engine in the second stage to simulate sea-skimming cruise missiles by flying faster than twice the speed of sound and as low as 12 feet off the surface of the ocean. The target missile also can simulate high-altitude cruise missile attacks that plunge at ships from higher than 30,000 feet.
While little is known about the present status of the Air launched Anti-AWACS and Anti-Radiation missile variant of the STAR under development, it is claimed that it will be a low-cost option to engage slow-moving airborne force multipliers at a longer range than using the more expensive Astra Mk3 that are powered by Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) motor.