Seeking to provide protection to country’s vital assets and persons in the national Capital, the Indian Air Force is looking to install a two-layer air defence system which can take out enemy combat aircraft, drones or helicopters.
The serving is working on the proposal in this regard which is expected to be brought to the Defence Acquisition Council – defence ministry’s apex decision making body on procurements – in its next few meetings, defence sources told Mail Today.
As part of the system, the Air Force is looking for a system which would also have the capability to take down enemy cruise missiles at a distance of 25 kilometers, and if that fails, then strike it down at lower level in the range of five to six kms, they said.
The new air defence system would be deployed to protect the important installations in the Capital, which will include the President’s house, Parliament and other vital assets and vital points.
Sources said the country has indigenous air defence systems such as the Akash missiles, but the DRDO was yet to develop a missile which can hit incoming targets at lower level heights in six to seven km range.
In another deal to protect important cities and installations from attacks by the Chinese and Pakistani missiles and taking down enemy airborne early warning systems at ranges up to 400km, the air force is in the process of acquiring the deadly S-400 air defence system from Russia.
The service has completed the trials of the system and the commercial negotiations are going on between the two sides for its final price, which is expected to be in range of Rs 37,000 crore-38,000 crore.
Along with the systems to be acquired from foreign countries, the DRDO is also working on the indigenous Ballistic Missile Defence shield project, under which protection would be provided to key cities such as Delhi and Mumbai from incoming ballistic missiles.
Under the DRDO project, the plan is to take down the ballistic missiles coming in from long ranges, up to 2,000km or more at heights of 30 to 120 kilometres in the air, and the twin-layer system is in advanced stages of development.
In the last few years, India has been taking significant steps to improve its air defence capabilities as a number of new mechanisms to take on hostile aerial action have been inducted and many more new systems would be joining in the near future.
India recently started inducting the long-delayed Rs 20,000 crore SPYDER missile systems into the Air Force and some of the systems have already been deployed on the western frontier to thwart any misadventure from Pakistan.
In recent times, the NDA government has taken several measures for strengthening the air defence as it cleared a Rs 18,000 crore proposal to buy MR-SAM missiles for the army, while the three services are buying the very short range air defence systems which can fired from troops’ shoulders.