Indian Army to get Russian VSHORAD missile system for air defence

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New Delhi | Updated: November 20, 2018 5:25:44 PM

Despite several complaints by the competitors, Russia’s Rosoboronexport has come out victorious and will soon be supplying very short range air defense or VSHORAD program missile system worth $ 1.3 billion to the Indian Army.

The Russian Igla-S system is expected to replace the IGLA M systems of Russia that is being used since the 1980s. (Rosoboronexport)

Despite several complaints by the competitors, Russia’s Rosoboronexport has come out victorious and will soon be supplying $ 1.3 bn very short range air defense or VSHORAD program missile system to the Indian Army.

The Russian Igla-S system is expected to replace the IGLA M systems of Russia that is being used since the 1980s.

The deal is expected to be inked when Indian-Russian Intergovernmental Commission on Military-Technical cooperation meeting will take place in Moscow in December.

Rosoboronexport of Russia fielded Igla-S, RBS 70 NG by Saab and Mistral by MBDA were down selected after several round of technical evaluations in 2012. Reportedly, two competitors had complained against the Russian agency to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), casting doubts on the evaluations before the commercial bids were opened this year.

After five years of rigorous trials, Igla-S system fielded by Rosoboronexport emerged as the best system for the Indian Army. Officials have confirmed that proper defence procurement guidelines were followed in the selection of the Russian system.

Sources also revealed that the Russian Igla-S was discussed at delegation level talks during the recently concluded India-Russia annual summit, and again when the deal for the S-400 advanced air-defense systems was inked in New Delhi.

According to sources, “these systems are needed for India’s security and as for the fear of US sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act or CAATSA; officials from both India and the US have been talking at various foras about these deals which have been in the pipeline for several years now.”

The Indian Army has asked for 5,175 missiles and associated equipment in the VSHORAD program, out of which around 2,300 missiles will be bought in fully formed condition, 260 will be in semi-knocked down (SKD) condition and 1,000 missiles will be completely knocked down (CKD) and 600 missiles will be produced in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India initiative. These missiles are capable of hitting an aerial target at short range.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior army officer stated that besides the missiles the associated systems including launchers, sensors, thermal imaging sights and command & control units too are required.

Both India and Russia have reaffirmed their commitment to enhance military technical cooperation between India and Russia. In a joint statement issued in Oct at the end of the annual summit stated that significant progress is being made on the ongoing projects of military technical cooperation and recognized the positive shift towards joint research and joint production of military technical equipment between the two countries.

BOX:

IGLA-S (SA-24) Russia: is the latest model of Russian MANPADS technology offered to the Indian Army and offers superior performance over the earl ier supplied SA-18 missiles to India. Igla-S system is designed for use against visible targets as tactical aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicle, cruise missile, head-on or receding, in the presence of natural (background) clutter and countermeasures.

RBS 70 NG by Saab (SWEDEN):

The company website states that RBS 70 NG is new accurate, reliable and flexible VSHORAD system with 24/7 all-target capability have been developed for any combat situation. A new generation integrated sighting system, enhanced gunner aids, high precision, unbeatable range and unjammable laser guidance combine to produce a ground-based air-defence system with world-leading capabilities.

Mistral by MBDA (France)

MISTRAL MANPADS is a very short range air defence weapon system, firing the MISTRAL, latest generation fire-and-forget missile. It features a lightweight man-portable launcher. It can be easily transported and operated from the ground, a vehicle, a building or a ship. It is normally operated by a gunner and a crew commander. However, if the mission is carried out in a simple tactical environment, it can be operated by one single soldier.

It is a man-portable, fully digital, heat-seeking missile, designed to meet the requirements of all branches of the armed forces. It boasts a 97% proven success rate and higher reliability than any other existing low-level air defence missile.

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