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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Indian Army's Missile Inventory Set To Get Some Major Teeth

An extensive purchase list, the Army has come up with. A Tonnage of PWNAGE.

Coming on the heels of the Indian Army's decision to purchase almost 3000 mini-Trucks, now comes this news that it intends to purchase nearly 1000 missile rounds. This is a hugely significant development on multiple counts. Besides the obvious, customary numerical "capability building" it, IMHO, also conveys a sense of the deficiency, currently, crippling the Armed Forces.

Strela-10M Surface to Air Missile [SAM] system - Indian Army


The Army, recently, put out multiple Request For Information [RFI] notices, seeking to purchase missiles for its:

MANPAD Components

Notably, they are all Soviet/Russian origin Surface to Air Missile [SAM] systems, to neutralise aerial adversaries. While the short-range man portable Igla-1M & Self-propelled Strela-10M systems, considered as last ditch, hard kill terminal defence systems, have an effective range of 5 kms, the  medium-range Kvadrat system can take out aerial targets  at around 25 kms away.

Igla MANPAD - India


As evident from the documents, the Army is also exploring alternate suppliers who can provide compatible solutions. Officially the missiles are all manufactured in different plants located in Russia. However, factories in the erstwhile Soviet Union, now independent Republics, have been churning out variants of Soviet-era missiles.

Interestingly, there have long been talks of India license-manufacturing the Igla missile system. But, no forward movement occurred, as evident from this BDL video that makes no mention of the missile, further reiterated by the new RFI. With this requirement of 500 missiles, it could reignite the idea of  license-manufacturing the same, which could subsequently manufacture the latest variant of the missile system. Such license production shouldn't threaten any current indigenous MANPAD programme, since there is none.

The Akash SAM Air Defence system, that could find its first export customer in strategically valued Vietnam, was supposed to replace the Kvadrat AD System. However, delays in development & deployment of the former is leading to prolongment of the use of a system that traces its roots to the late-50s.

Indian Army 2K12E Kvadrat Air Defence System


Importantly, the Army is seeking out purchase of only the missile itself. In case of the Igla-1M, it seeks to purchase the Tube-enclosed missile, along with the Ground Power Supply Source [GPSS], compatible with its existing 9p519-2 launch mechanism, for the 2K12E Kvadrat, the missile must be compatible with the original 2P25E Transporter Erector Launcher [TEL], with similar compatibility being sought for the new missiles to arm the 2K35 Strela-1M TEL.

Crucial development. The need of the hour is to see no let-up in this momentum to fill up deficiencies.


Also Read: DRDO's CLGM Development Programme Appears To Be Progressing Well