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DRDO develops super explosive
Claims ICL-20 is most powerful in non-nuclear category
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30
The Defence Research and Development Organisation today claimed to have developed the most powerful non-nuclear explosive.

Scientists at the DRDO’s Pune-based High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) have synthesised adequate quantity of CL-20 in the laboratory. “It is the most powerful non-nuclear explosive known so far,” a Defence ministry spokesperson said quoting Dr AK Sikder, the Joint Director of HEMRL.

The compound, Indian CL-20 or ICL-20, was indigenously synthesised at the HEMRL laboratory using inverse technology, he said. A few countries with advanced capabilities in the field of energetic materials have similar capabilities.

The ICL-20 can substantially reduce the weight and size of the warhead while packing much more punch. ICL-20 derives its name from the China Lake facility of the Naval Air Weapons Station in California, US, and was first synthesised in 1987. The compound is Octa-Nitro-Cubane and it is rated four times more powerful than RDX and some 15 times more powerful than the average explosives used by the forces. The ICL-20 looks like limestone or a grainy talcum powder.

Dr Sikder said, “It offers the only option within the next 10-15 years to meet the requirements of the Indian armed forces for futuristic weapons.” It can be used in 120-mm main gun mounted on the Arjun tanks. The cost is one factor that could be inhibitive. While a normal explosive costs about Rs 6,000 per kg, the CL-20 would cost a whopping Rs 70,000 per kg.

The DRDO has tied up with an Andhra Pradesh-based private company to produce some 100 kg of this explosive. 





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