INDIA AIMS TO DEPLOY INDIGENOUS LONG-RANGE AIR DEFENCE SYSTEM BY 2028-2029
BY SAHIL PATHAN
India is set to deploy its own long-range air defence system by 2028-29. The indigenous long-range surface-to-air missile (LR-SAM) system, being developed under ‘Project Kusha’, will have interception capabilities comparable to the Russian S-400 Triumf. The LR-SAM will be able to detect and destroy stealth fighters, aircraft, drones, cruise missiles, and precision-guided munitions at ranges of up to 350km. It will provide comprehensive air defence cover to strategic and tactical vulnerable areas and will be integrated with the Indian Air Force’s command and control system reported TIN.
India plans to operationally deploy by 2028-2029 its own long-range air defence system, which can detect and destroy incoming stealth fighters, aircraft, drones, cruise missiles and precision-guided munitions at ranges up to 350-km.
The “interception capabilities” of the indigenous long-range surface-to-air missile (LR-SAM) system, being developed by DRDO under the ambitious Project Kusha, will be “comparable” to the formidable Russian S-400 Triumf air defence system recently inducted by the IAF, sources told TOI on Sunday.
After the Cabinet Committee on Security in May 2022 cleared development of the LR-SAM system as a “mission-mode” project, the defence ministry last month accorded the acceptance of necessity (AoN) for procurement of five of its squadrons for the IAF at a cost of Rs 21,700 crore.
The mobile LR-SAM, withlong-range surveillance and fire control radars, will have different types of interceptor missiles designed to hit hostile targets at 150-km, 250-km and 350-km ranges.
“It will be capable of reliable `area air defence’ with single-shot kill probability of not less than 80% for single missile launch and not less than 90% for salvo launch,” a source said.
Meant to provide comprehensive air defence cover to strategic and tactical vulnerable areas, the LR-SAM will be effective even against high-speed targets with low-radar cross-section, as per the DRDO.
“It will be geared to take out fighter-sized targets at a 250-km range, with larger aircraft like AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) and mid-air refuelers being intercepted at 350-km,” he added.
Firing units of the LR-SAM will be able to “interact” with the IAF’s integrated air command and control system (IACCS), which is a fully-automated air defence network with data links being progressively built to integrate the wide array of military radars with each other as well as with civilian radars to plug surveillance gaps in Indian airspace.
While the Army and Navy have their own air defence weapons, the IAF is overall responsible for guarding the country’s airspace. From ‘air superiority’ fighters to ground-based missiles, the IAF has several weapon systems deployed for the task.
The ground systems range from the older Igla, OSA-AK-M and Pechora missiles to the newer Israeli low-level Spyder quick-reaction missiles (15-km range), indigenous Akash area defence missiles (25-km) and the Barak-8 medium-range SAM systems (over 70-km) jointly developed with Israel.
IAF is also hopeful of receiving the remaining two of the five S-400 Triumf squadrons over the next one year, under the $5.43 billion contract inked in 2018, after a delay due to the Russia-Ukraine war. The first
The first three S-400 squadrons, which destroy hostile targets at range of 380-km, have been deployed in north-west and east India to cater for both China and Pakistan.