Air Defence

India is taking aerial threats seriously by building the much required capabilities

Jaison Deepak

Countering aerial threats is going to be pivotal in future wars both in the strategic and tactical sense. Wide ranging threats from ballistic missiles, air breathing threats, helicopter and UAVs renders a one size fits all solution unfeasible. India is building significant capabilities within the country as well as with outside help.



Ballistic Missile Defence

India has been keen to set up a ballistic missile defence system at least for important cities. Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been developing and testing Exo Atmospheric (PAD, PDV) and Endo atmospheric (Ashwin) interceptors for the purpose along with detection and tracking radars like the Swordfish LRTR, MFCR.

The Ashwin has a RF seeker and high specific impulse propellants to propel it to high speeds and engage targets within. The Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) was a modification of the Prithvi ballistic missile with RF seeker and solid propellant upper stage and can engage targets. The Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) is an upgraded interceptor with an optimised airframe, high specific impulse rocket propellant, multi-mode guidance with RF and IIR seekers to filter out decoys.

India’s planned purchase of five S-400 Surface to Air Missile systems for USD6 billion which includes in its arsenal 40N6,48N6,9M96E/E2 interceptors which are capable of intercepting tactical ballistic missiles to theatre ballistic missiles with ranges up to 3,500km.


Medium Range Air Defence

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and DRDO forged a partnership to develop the Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) for the Indian Navy and Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Army. The Indian Navy is in the process of inducting 12 systems and the Indian Army about five regiments with 40 batteries while induction into the IAF has already begun.

The LRSAM has advanced features with an X-Band active RF seeker and dual pulse rocket motor which greatly enhances the endgame manoeuvrability of the missile and the No Escape Zone (NEZ) of the target. P-15A Kolkata class destroyers have been equipped with the LRSAM with the IAI  MFSTAR radar providing target acquisition and midcourse guidance, the missile would be tasked to protect the fleet from sea skimming anti ship missiles, aircraft, UAVs and helicopters.

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