STRENGTHENING INDIA’S AIR DEFENCE
India’s Long Range-Surface To Air Air Defence Missile System
New Delhi: In the backdrop of strained relations with neighbouring countries, India is actively developing a long-range air defence system known as Project Kusha. This indigenous system, comparable to Israel’s renowned Iron Dome and Russia’s S-400 Triumph, is set to be deployed by 2028-2029. Project Kusha aims to provide robust air defence capabilities and enhance national security.
Advanced Air Defence Capabilities
Project Kusha is designed to detect and neutralize a wide range of threats, including stealth fighter planes, aircraft, drones, cruise missiles, and precision-guided weapons. It boasts an impressive interception range of up to 350 kilometers, making it a formidable defence system. Even the slightest miscalculation by adversary nations like China and Pakistan could result in significant consequences.
LR-SAM System Similar To S-400 Triumph
The Long-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LR-SAM) system, developed indigenously by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) under Project Kusha, shares similar capabilities with the Russian S-400 Triumph air defence system. The Indian government’s commitment to this mission is evident as the Cabinet Committee on Security approved the LR-SAM system in May 2022. Recently, the Defence Ministry granted Approval of Requirement (AoN) for the Indian Air Force to procure five squadrons of this advanced air defence system.
A Multi-Layered Defence Solution
The LR-SAM system will employ various interceptor missiles tailored for targeting and destroying incoming threats at different ranges: 150 km, 250 km, and 350 km. DRDO emphasizes that the system will effectively counter high-speed targets with low radar cross-section, providing comprehensive air defence coverage in both strategic and tactical vulnerable areas. Furthermore, the LR-SAM will have the capacity to engage fighter aircraft at a range of 250 kilometers and intercept large aircraft at a distance of 350 kilometers with the support of AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) and mid-air refuelling.
Integrated Air Defence Network
The firing units of the LR-SAM system will be seamlessly integrated into the Indian Air Force’s Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS). This fully automated air defence network connects a variety of weapon systems, including fighter aircraft and ground-based missiles, ensuring a coordinated and robust defence strategy. India’s air defence arsenal encompasses a wide spectrum, ranging from older Igla, OSA-AK-M, and Pechora missiles to more advanced systems like the Israeli Spyder quick-reaction missile, the indigenous Akash area defence missile, and the jointly developed Barak-8 medium-range SAM systems in collaboration with Israel, boasting a range of over 70 kilometers.