Mod­erni­sa­tion of Army Air De­fence

In­dia’s land-based AD weapons have alarm­ing gaps and the prover­bial AD um­brella is leak­ing heav­ily which needs im­me­di­ate rec­ti­fi­ca­tion


In­dia’s land-based AD weapons have alarm­ing gaps and the prover­bial AD um­brella is leak­ing heav­ily which needs im­me­di­ate rec­ti­fi­ca­tion

Lt Gen­eral Naresh Chand (Retd)

ARMY AIR DE­FENCE (AAD) is an im­por­tant com­po­nent of mod­ern war­fare as air power and air threat is de­vel­op­ing rapidly due to im­proved aero­nau­tics, avion­ics and ar­ma­ment. UAVs have added an­other di­men­sion to the threat which started with re­con­nais­sance and sur­veil­lance, and has now man­i­fested into armed plat­forms. The em­ploy­ment of cruise and bal­lis­tic mis­siles make any ad­ver­saries’ air­power for­mi­da­ble. The se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment in In­dia’s neigh­bour­hood is al­ways on a danger­ous thresh­old and a short fuse which is proven by the ac­tive LOC and IB in the re­cent past thus it is es­sen­tial to con­tin­u­ous up­date and mod­ernise AAD weaponry and man­power.

Cur­rent AD Sce­nario

AAD is hold­ing sys­tems of vary­ing vin- tage rang­ing from about 50 years old (L70 gun) to the youngest be­ing 20 years old (Tan­gushka). The re­main­ing gun and mis­sile sys­tems are also more than two decades old. The tech­nol­ogy, es­pe­cially in the field of ammunition, mis­siles, sen­sors and ac­tive seek­ers, has ad­vanced very rapidly thus it is nec­es­sary to up­grade and re­place the ex­ist­ing AD weapon sys­tems at least ev­ery 15-20 years so that they re­main cur­rent. Apart the as­pect of weapon ob­so­les­cence, there is a fac­tor of shelf life of ammunition and mis­siles which ef­fects their lethal­ity, ac­cu­racy and safety. Con­sid­er­ing the vin­tage, the cur­rent AAD pic­ture is rather dis­mal when re­viewed sys­tem by sys­tem.

L/70 Gun sys­tem

L/70 is the main­stay of AAD and has been the war horse of AAD since 1964. It was to be re­placed by 2000 how­ever there is no progress. The De­fence Re­search and Devel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s (DRDO) devel­op­ment ef­fort also kept its re­place­ment at a limb for about two decades. Not many gun sys­tems are cur­rently avail­able but a pos­si­ble choice was Skyshield of Rheinmetall AD but un­for­tu­nately the com­pany has been black­listed by In­dia thus there is no hope even in the dis­tant fu­ture for a suc­ces­sor sys­tem. Even if a gun is short­listed, it may take at least five years for the de­liv­ery to start. No­tion­ally if 10 reg­i­ments have to be pro­vided with the new guns then at the rate of one reg­i­ment per year, it will take 10 years to equip all the 10 reg­i­ments pro­vided there is no spillover. Thus if new guns are in­ducted by 2030 the cur­rent guns, which are al­ready ob­so­lete, will have to pro­vide AD till then which is im­prac­ti­cal. Cur­rently L70 is also be­ing up­graded jointly by BEL and Ord­nance Fac­tory, Ja­balpur; with elec­tric power lay, and elec­tro-op­ti­cal sight­ing sys­tem. The process of in­duc­tion of this up­graded sys­tem is in progress.

23mm Twin gun

This is a fair weather gun sys­tem which is of more than three decades old how­ever its rate of fir­ing is very good (2,000 rounds per minute).It is suit­able for mo­bile role and em­ploy­ment in the moun­tains. It is be­ing up­graded by BEL. The up­grade in­cludes power lay and elec­tro-op­ti­cal sight­ing sys­tem which will en­hance its ca­pa­bil­ity man­i­fold and also pro­vide it with night-fir­ing ca­pa­bil­ity.

Schilka Sys­tem

It is a highly mo­bile sys­tem for sup­port­ing ar­mour for­ma­tions and is in ser­vice since the early 70’s. Its suc­ces­sor was Tan­gushka, one reg­i­ment of which was pro­cured, but there were many twists and turns for buy­ing ad­di­tional mounts. The re­sult is that the AAD is stuck with limited equip­ment which is obso-

lete and dif­fi­cult to main­tain. The Schilka up­grade has been car­ried out jointly by BEL with El­bit of Is­rael which in­cludes a new more pow­er­ful en­gine, dig­i­tal com­puter, bet­ter elec­tro-op­ti­cal sight­ing sys­tem and a new fire con­trol radar. The four bar­rel 23mm gun with a rate of fire of 3,400 rounds per minute has been re­tained and there is a pro­vi­sion for fir­ing shoul­der-fired mis­siles. The in­duc­tion has also started. Mean­while pos­si­bil­i­ties should be ex­plored for in­duc­tion of a bet­ter sys­tem through ‘Joint Ven­ture’ route.

Quick Re­ac­tion SAM (QR SAM) Sys­tem

The cur­rent sys­tem is OSA-AK which is a highly mo­bile sys­tem for the air de­fence of ar­mour for­ma­tions. This sys­tem is more than 20 years old and needs to be re­placed. DRDO’s ef­fort to de­velop Tr­ishul sys­tem did not suc­ceed and a RFP had been is­sued twice. Hope­fully the cur­rent RFP will be taken to its log­i­cal con­clu­sion.

Sys­tems Avail­able Glob­ally

Saab’s ASRAD (At­las short-range air de­fence) sys­tem -R is a ve­hi­cle mounted sys­tem which is suit­able for the pro­tec­tion of ar­moured and other units on the move

Spy­der SHORAD Mis­sile Sys­tem of RAFAEL – IAI (Is­rael)

Spy­der name is a com­bi­na­tion of PYthon and DERby mis­siles which are in­te­gral to the Spy­der sys­tem. Python has an IR dual wave­band elec­tro-op­ti­cal imag­ing seeker with lock-on af­ter launch, with infrared counter-coun­ter­mea­sures. Derby has an ac­tive radar seeker, lock on be­fore launch and ad­vanced pro­gram­mable ECCM. Spy­der has a max­i­mum range of 15 km and altitude of ZO-9,000 m, can carry out si­mul­ta­ne­ous en­gage­ment of mul­ti­ple tar­gets, carry out rip­ple fir­ing, is all-weather and highly im­mune to coun­ter­mea­sures. The sys­tem is claimed to ef­fec­tively counter all mod­ern aerial threats in­clud­ing air­craft, he­li­copters, cruise mis­siles, UAVs and pre­ci­sion guided weapons. The two op­er­a­tional mis­siles com­ple­ment each other in their tar­get de­tec­tion, track­ing and pur­suit pro­file. The sur­veil­lance radar EL/M-2106NG ATAR 3D can si­mul­ta­ne­ously track and en­gage up to 60 tar­gets, at a range be­yond 35 km. and is a part of the CCU. In­dian Air Force has al­ready ac­quired the sys­tem.

ASRAD-R SHORAD mis­sile sys­tem of Saab (Swe­den)

Saab’s ASRAD-R (At­las short-range air de­fence) sys­tem is a ve­hi­cle-mounted sys­tem which is suit­able for the pro­tec­tion of ar­moured and other units on the move. It is de­signed and pro­duced by Saab in co­op­er­a­tion with Rheinmetall De­fence Elec­tron­ics of Ger­many. ASRAD-R uses the same un­jammable laser guid­ance Bolide mis­sile of com­bat-proven RBS 70 sys­tem. It can be mounted on al­most all type of wheeled and tracked ve­hi­cles. ASRAD-R car­ries ready to fire, four mis­siles which can be fired within a few sec­onds of com­ing to halt. The mis­siles can be reloaded in less than a minute. Bolide mis­sile is laser beam-rid­ing which pro­vides re­li­able all-tar­get ca­pa­bil­ity with an in­ter­cept range of 8,000 m and an altitude cov­er­age of 5,000 m. The laser-beam guid­ance is al­most im­pos­si­ble to jam, en­ables short re­ac­tion times, en­gag­ing mul­ti­ple tar­gets, has head-on ca­pa­bil­ity with high kill prob­a­bil­ity at long range and al­most ground level altitude. The max­i­mum ve­loc­ity of the mis­sile is Mach 2. The new Bolide mis­sile, the ASRAD-R sys­tem can counter all types of tar­gets, in­clud­ing hard ground tar­gets. Each ASRAD-R unit is equipped with Saab’s HARD radar which is an X-band 3D search and ac­qui­si­tion radar whose small size and light­weight makes it easy to in­te­grate with all type of ve­hi­cles. Typ­i­cally each ASRADR bat­tery has three to four ASRAD-R fir­ing units but can be tai­lored as per the re­quire­ment of the user.

Tor M1 9M330 SHORAD Sys­tem-de­signed by Al­maz-Antey of Rus­sia

The Tor-M1 SHORAD (SAM-15) is a clas­sic mo­bile Rus­sian sys­tem de­signed es­pe­cially for air de­fence of ar­moured and other mo­bile for­ma­tions. Tor is suc­ces­sor to OS­AAK SHORAD (SAM-8) Sys­tem. It can en­gage tar­gets from medium to very low al­ti­tudes, against many type of aerial tar­gets like he­li­copters, fighters, UAVs, guided/cruise mis­siles and pre­ci­sion guided weapon; in an in­tense jamming en­vi­ron­ment. A typ­i­cal Rus­sian air de­fence bat­tal­ion con­sists of 3-5 com­pa­nies, each equipped with four trans­porter launcher ve­hi­cle (TLVs). Each TLV is equipped with 8 ready to launch mis­siles, as­so­ci­at­ing radars, fire con­trol sys­tems and a bat­tery com­mand post. The com­bat ve­hi­cle can op­er­ate au­tonomously and can also fire on the move. The sys­tem can be brought into ac­tion in three min­utes and typ­i­cal re­ac­tion time, from tar­get de­tec­tion to mis­sile launch, could range from 3.4 sec­onds for sta­tion­ary po­si­tions to 10 sec­onds while on the move. Each fire unit can en­gage two sep­a­rate tar­gets. It has a search radar, a monopulse track­ing and en­gage­ment radar, and au­to­matic com­mand to line of sight guided mis­siles. Tor M1 can de­tect and track up to 48 tar­gets at a max­i­mum range of 25 km. It can en­gage two tar­gets si­mul­ta­ne­ously at a range of 1 to 12 km and altitude of 10-6,000 m with a kill prob­a­bil­ity of 92-95 per cent. It is in ser­vice with Rus­sia, China and Iran amongst many oth­ers. Tor M2 is a im­proved ver­sion of Tor M1. It is claimed that it can de­flect mas­sive en­emy air raids in an in­tense jamming en­vi­ron­ment and en­tered ser­vice in 2008. Tor M2E is an ex­port ver­sion of the Tor M2.

Sur­face launched ad­vanced medi­um­range air-to-air mis­sile (SLAMRAAM)

SLAMRAAM is a key player in Raytheon In­te­grated De­fense Sys­tems’ state-of-theart in­te­grated air and mis­sile de­fence sys­tems which can counter cur­rent and fu­ture cruise mis­sile threats, and a wide range of air breath­ing threats. SLAMRAAM is ca­pa­ble of de­fend­ing ma­noeu­vring land forces, high-value fixed as­sets and mass pop­u­la­tion cen­tres. SLAMRAAM is the US Army’s do­mes­tic vari­ant of the Nor­we­gian ad­vanced sur­face-to-air mis­sile sys­tem (NASAMS sys­tem). SLAMRAAM sys­tem uses the AM­RAAM fire-and-for­get mis­sile, a sur­veil­lance radar, a fire dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre (FDC) and AM­RAAM launch­ers. The SLAMRAAM launcher mounts six AM­RAAM mis­siles on a tur­reted high-mo­bil­ity mul­ti­pur­pose wheeled ve­hi­cle which pro­vides 360° cov­er­age. The US Army uses the Raytheon AN/MPQ-64 Sen­tinel radar to carry out the sur­veil­lance and tar­get search, ac­qui­si­tion, iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and track­ing func­tions. The elec­tron­i­cally scanned phased ar­ray radar uses range gate pulse dop­pler op­er­a­tion at X-band, has a scan rate of 30 rpm and range of 75 km. The sys­tem is in­te­grated with a FDC, mounted on a high mo­bil­ity ve­hi­cle which pro­vides tac­ti­cal op­er­a­tional con­trol in­clud­ing tar­get de­tec­tion, iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, threat as­sess­ment, tar­get des­ig­na­tion and dam­age as­sess­ment.

Hawk-AM­RAAM air de­fence sys­tem. Raytheon and Kongs­berg De­fence have jointly de­vel­oped the HAWK-AM­RAAM air de­fence sys­tem, which com­bines the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of HAWK and AM­RAAM mis­siles by in­te­grat­ing the sys­tem with FDC. The sys­tem can in­clude the Sen­tinel radar and the HAWK AN/MPQ-61 high power il­lu­mi­na­tor for tar­get track­ing and il­lu­mi­na­tion, although it is pos­si­ble to hook up with any num­ber of radars and mis­sile sys­tems to the FDC. It has been re­ported that HAWK has been up­graded and named HAWK21 with the FDC de­vel­oped by Kongs­berg as part of NASAM sys­tem. Raytheon jointly with Kongs­berg De­fence and Aerospace, con­tinue to in­te­grate new ca­pa­bil­i­ties into NASAMS to de­velop and field highly ca­pa­ble and fully in­te­grated so­lu­tions.

Com­par­a­tive tri­als have been car­ried out on some of the sys­tems like Spy­der SHORAD Mis­sile Sys­tem of RAFAEL – IAI (Is­rael), ASRAD-R SHORAD mis­sile sys­tem of Saab (Swe­den), Tor M1 9M330 SHORAD Sys­tem—de­signed by Al­maz-Antey of Rus­sia but seems to be no fur­ther devel­op­ment. Maybe the NDA Gov­ern­ment has to take stock of the sit­u­a­tion.

Medium range SAM (MRSAM) sys­tem. Kvadrat is the cur­rent sys­tem which is more than 35 years old and has the tech­nol­ogy of early 1960’s thus an RFP has been is­sued but later on with­drawn due to poor re­sponse. As DRDO’s Akash has not been found suit­able for mo­bile role, a few reg­i­ments of Akash has been con­tracted for semi-static role. Mean­while, DRDO has signed a MOU with Is­rael for the joint devel­op­ment of a mis­sile sys­tem of about 70 km. It is meant for Army, Navy and the Air Force. Mean­while in the in­terim phase, the AAD may ex­plore the pos­si­bil­ity of im­port­ing a few reg­i­ments of Pa­triot Ad­vance Ca­pa­bil­ity-3 (PAC-3) from the US through the FMS route. PAC-3 is the ob­vi­ous choice as it is war proven; has hit to kill tech­nol­ogy; can en­gage aitcrafts, he­li­copters, UAV’s, cruise and tac­ti­cal bal­lis­tic mis­siles. It is also de­ployed with many na­tions in­clud­ing the US.

Shoul­der-fired SAM sys­tems. The cur­rent sys­tem is Igla which is also in ser­vice with the In­dian Navy and the Air Force. A tri-ser­vice RFP was is­sued and com­par­a­tive tri­als have been car­ried out dur­ing 201112 in­clud­ing Saab’s RBS70-NG but there has been no fur­ther devel­op­ment.


With the rapid devel­op­ment in air power due to fifth-gen­er­a­tions fighters, armed UAVs and cruise mis­siles, it is es­sen­tial that the com­plete AD sys­tem which in­cludes land, sea and air-based AAD weapons, de­vel­ops match­ing ‘anti’ ca­pa­bil­ity. In­dia’s land­based AD weapons have alarm­ing gaps and the prover­bial AD um­brella is leak­ing heav­ily which needs im­me­di­ate rec­ti­fi­ca­tion.


MR launcher


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.