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Indian Army selects Russian Igla-S missile system

Indian Army has picked Russia’s Igla-S missile system as choice for its multibillion dollar contract for man- portable air defence systems (MANPADS). Igla-S bid around $1.47 billion from Russia’s Rosoboronexport had emerged lowest bidder for Indian Army’s Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) deal. The other bidders were MBDA of France (bid of $3.68 billion) and SAAB of Sweden (bid of $2.6 billion). The deal is expected  to  be  inked  when  Indian-Russian  Intergovernmental  Commission  on  Military-Technical cooperation meeting will take place in Moscow in December 2018.

Spotlight

There  is  shadow  of  US  financial  sanctions  for  arms  purchases  from  Russia  under  Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) law that restricts defence purchases from Russia, Iran and North Korea.

US is yet to grant India waiver for $5.43 billion S-400 surface-to-air missiles defence system as well as naval warship deal with Russia signed in early October 2018 under CAATSA.

US had imposed sanctions on China for purchasing Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 surface-to- air missiles defence system from Russia as it violated US sanctions under CAATSA. 

IGLA-S (SA-24)

It  is  latest  model  of  Russian  MANPADS  (Man-portable  air-defense  system)  technology. It  offers superior performance over earlier supplied SA-18 missiles to India.

The usage of the system is being designed as in  to  use  against  visible  aerial  targets  at  short  range  such  as  tactical  aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs), cruise  missile, head-on or receding, in presence of natural (background) clutter and countermeasures.

The requirements of Indian Army are being taken care of and thus, it will have maximum range of 6km, altitude of 3km along with all-weather capability. Igla-S missile system will replace the existing Igla in service which is in urgent need of replacement. 

Factoids

Indian Army had initiated process to procure VSHORAD missiles in 2010.   The several rounds of trails before Igla-S qualified in January 2018 have been carried out, along with two other competitors Swedish SAAB’s RBS70  NG,  and  France’s  MBDA  Mistral.  

VSHORAD  programme  was  initiated  to  replace  Russian  Igla-M systems that have been used by Army since the 1980s is considered critical for defence against incoming helicopters, UAVs and ground attack aircraft.

Under this programme, Indian Army had issued Request for Proposal (RFP) for 5,175 missiles and associated equipment, 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  Make  in  India initiative.

 

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