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India Adds to Air Defense Arsenal with New Igla-S Systems from Russia

CC BY 4.0 / Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation / IglaIgla
Igla - Sputnik India, 1920, 08.04.2024
Igla-S systems are intended for use in recently approved air defence units tailored for high altitude mountainous areas. One regiment has reportedly already been equipped with the systems, with more units expected to receive them as deliveries continue.
The first shipment of 24 Igla-S Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) from Russia, along with 100 missiles, has been received by the Indian Army, according to Indian media.
This shipment is part of a larger contract that will see the remaining systems manufactured in India.

The procurement of these systems is aimed at enhancing the Indian Army's Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) capabilities, particularly in the high mountainous terrain along the northern border.

The Igla-S system, comprising a launcher and a missile, was contracted with Russia in November last year for a total of 120 launchers and 400 missiles. While the first batch will be procured from Russia, subsequent systems will be manufactured domestically by an Indian company through Transfer of Technology (ToT) from Russia.

These Igla-S systems are intended for use in newly approved high mountain air defence formations. One regiment has reportedly already received the systems, with more units expected to be equipped as deliveries continue.

Comparatively, although the Army had previously procured a small number of Igla-S systems (24 launchers and 216 missiles) as part of an emergency procurement in 2021, this current order represents a significant increase in quantity.
The procurement process for the Very Short Range Air Defence systems began with a Request for Proposal (RFP) issued in 2010 under the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
MANPADS, such as Igla-S, are critical portable surface-to-air missile systems used by air defence units to engage low-altitude air threats such as aircraft, drones and missiles, particularly in difficult terrain.

The Indian Army currently operates Igla-1M systems, which are in urgent need of replacement due to obsolescence. The decision to procure Igla-S aims to meet this urgent requirement.

In February this year, the Defence Research and Development Organisation conducted two successful flight tests of indigenous VSHORADS missiles from a ground-based portable launcher, demonstrating progress towards indigenous development and self-reliance in defence technology.
Igla-s portable anti-aircraft missile system - Sputnik India, 1920, 18.11.2023
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