India is also negotiating with Russia for long range air defense system S-400 which is expected to be finalized next month.
In a bid to expedite the overhauling of obsolete air defense system, Indian government has approved a budget of $2.6 billion for the acquisition of Medium Range Surface to Air Defense Missile Systems from Israel. Sources told Sputnik that this acquisition for the Indian Army will be in line with ongoing India-Israel LRSAM and MRSAM projects for Indian Navy and Indian Air Force respectively.
The system is jointly developed by India and Israel and will intercept aerial threats at range up to 70 Kilometer. According to approved proposal, Indian Army will start receiving the missile system by 2023. A total of 40 firing units and over 200 missiles are proposed for induction in the Indian armed forces.
The project will be completed in India under the guidance of Defense Research Development Organization. Bharat Dynamics is expected to produce the system whereas private sector companies like Tata Power SED and Larson & Turbo are likely to participate for supplying components for the missile system.
“For long range missile systems, we are in talks with Russia for S-400, but in medium range there is a clear gap and threat is actually that, medium range threat is more. All the combat formations that are moving around, they require cover then staging area of the army, consultation areas of the army, tactical assembly areas of the army; they require coverage. Airfields also require coverage. Vulnerable areas and points require air defense coverage. MRSAM is important kind of an acquisition. Equally important is the fact that it will be Make in India product,” says Brigadier Rumel Dahiya (retired), a renowned defense analyst.
India’s air defense has received a major setback in the recent past as there has not been any major acquisition except for some for short range Akash missile system. “This is not sufficient. A long time back, we had taken some air defense missile systems from Russia, that was three decades back,” Dahiya added.
MRSAM will be an important component of India’s Cold Start doctrine. Cold Start doctrine is considered as retaliatory offensive arrangement along western border through which Indian armed forces can hit specific targets of rivals in limited duration. Indian Army had been continuously requisitioning for MRSAM since a long time back to defend mechanized formations operating in the plains and desert regions of the country.
This article was originally published in Sputnik News on 24 February 2017: