Indian Army Progresses Indigenous Air Defence Amid Missile Shortage

The Indian Armed Forces’ pursuit of indigenous development initiatives reflects a proactive approach to addressing critical defence needs.

Amidst reported shortages in shoulder-fired missiles for countering aerial threats along the borders with China and Pakistan, the Indian Army is taking proactive measures to address the issue. Progressing two cases worth over Rs 6,800 crore, the Army is focused on developing Very Short Range Air Defence Systems indigenously.

Indigenous Development Initiatives

The Indian Army’s plans entail the development and procurement of over 500 launchers and approximately 3000 missiles through indigenous channels. Notably, a significant portion of the project involves exploring domestic manufacturing routes to bolster self-reliance in defence capabilities.

Exploring Alternative Options

In addition to domestic initiatives, stakeholders are revisiting previous tenders to address immediate needs. Discussions are underway regarding the possibility of reviving a scrapped tender wherein the Russian Igla-S system was initially selected. This reconsideration is prompted by delays in finding suitable replacements for aging Igla-1M missiles.

Collaborative Efforts and Development Partnerships

Industry collaborations and partnerships play a pivotal role in the advancement of indigenous defence capabilities. Notably, both public and private sector entities are engaged in the development of Laser Beam Riding VSHORAD systems, aimed at enhancing border security against various aerial threats.

 Progress and Challenges

While significant strides have been made in indigenous development programs, challenges persist. Progress in certain initiatives, particularly those focused on laser beam riding technology, has been reportedly sluggish. However, concerted efforts are underway to overcome obstacles and accelerate development processes.

 Emergency Procurement Measures

To mitigate immediate shortages, the Indian Army and Air Force have utilized emergency procurement powers. This includes the acquisition of Russian Igla launchers, with a significant portion already delivered and further orders in progress.

Strategic Revival and ‘Make in India’ Initiative

The revival of scrapped contracts underscores the government’s commitment to promoting indigenous manufacturing under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. Stakeholders are set to convene discussions to explore avenues for reviving and executing projects that align with national security imperatives.

Relevance in Modern Warfare

The importance and versatility of VSHORAD missiles have been underscored by their efficacy in various battle scenarios, including recent conflicts such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict. These systems remain integral to India’s strategic defence posture, prompting ongoing efforts to upgrade and modernize existing capabilities.

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The Indian Armed Forces’ pursuit of indigenous development initiatives reflects a proactive approach to addressing critical defence needs. By leveraging domestic expertise and fostering strategic collaborations, India aims to enhance its self-reliance in defence capabilities while bolstering national security in the face of evolving threats.