Strengthening India's Air Defense: Indigenous VSHORAD Projects

Image depicting the development of indigenous VSHORAD systems by the Indian Army, aimed at bolstering India's air defense capabilities
Strengthening India's Air Defense: Indigenous VSHORAD Projects

The Indian Army is currently spearheading two ambitious projects with a combined value exceeding Rs 6,800 crore aimed at developing indigenous Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) systems. These advanced shoulder-fired missile systems are strategically designed to effectively counter aerial threats along the borders with both China and Pakistan. It is anticipated that over 500 launchers and approximately 3,000 missiles will be procured through these indigenous channels, marking a significant stride towards bolstering India's air defense capabilities.

Project Overview:

Laser Beam Riding VSHORADS:

  • Valued at Rs 4,800 crore, this project entails the development of a laser beam riding VSHORADS.
  • A collaborative effort between a Hyderabad-based defense Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) and a private sector firm from Pune.
  • The system is engineered to provide comprehensive protection against a spectrum of airborne threats including enemy drones, fighter aircraft, and helicopters.
  • The Indian Army is leading this project, with the Indian Air Force slated to receive a portion of the 1,200 missiles and 200 launchers under development.

DRDO’s Infra-Red Homing VSHORADS:

  • The second project, led by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), focuses on developing an infra-red homing-based VSHORADS.
  • Collaborative efforts with development and production partners, Adani Defence and I-Comm, are underway.
  • Initial testing of the system has been conducted using a tripod, with ongoing efforts to miniaturize it for shoulder-launched deployment.

Emergency Procurement and Revival:

To address immediate shortages in VSHORAD systems, the Indian Army and Air Force have undertaken emergency procurement, securing 96 Russian Igla launchers. The first batch of 48 launchers has already been received, with the remaining 48 expected shortly. Additionally, there are discussions to revive a previous deal for the Russian Igla-S system, previously abandoned over five years ago.

Importance of VSHORAD Systems:

VSHORAD systems have demonstrated their efficacy and adaptability in recent conflicts worldwide, such as the Russia-Ukraine war. These systems are pivotal in establishing a layered air defense capability against low-flying aircraft, helicopters, and drones. The modernization of India's VSHORAD inventory, primarily comprised of the aging Igla-1M system, underscores the urgency of this initiative.

Make in India Initiative:

The development of indigenous VSHORAD systems is in alignment with the Indian government's "Make in India" initiative, aimed at fostering self-reliance in defense manufacturing. Stakeholder meetings are anticipated to facilitate the seamless integration of these projects within the Make in India framework.

About DRDO:

Established in 1958, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) serves as the premier R&D organization under the Ministry of Defence, India. Headquartered in New Delhi, DRDO operates through a network of over 50 laboratories across the country, dedicated to developing cutting-edge technologies for the Indian Armed Forces. Notable projects include the Agni and Prithvi missiles, Tejas fighter aircraft, and Arjun tank, along with critical systems such as electronic warfare (EW), radars, sonars, torpedoes, and combat vehicles.

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