In­dian VSHORADS com­pe­ti­tion pro­gresses

SP's MAI - - SP’S EXCLUSIVES -

The mas­sive $6-bil­lion In­dian Army very short range air de­fence sys­tem (VSHORADS) com­pe­ti­tion, which looks to con­tract nearly 1,000 launcher sys­tems and over 6,000 mis­siles, has pro­gressed into a cru­cial phase which in­volves qual­ity as­sur­ance tests at Ban­ga­lore and a check-out of the elec­tron­ics sys­tems on the three re­main­ing con­tenders in Ladakh. The big-ticket bid is cur­rently a three-way fight be­tween the French MBDA Mis­tral, Swe­den’s Saab RBS 70 NG and Rus­sia’s KBM new gen­er­a­tion Igla-S. Field eval­u­a­tion tri­als of all three VSHORADS plat­forms were con­ducted in May in Ra­jasthan (hot weather tri­als), Visakha­p­at­nam (coastal en­vi­ron­men­tal tri­als) and Ladakh (high al­ti­tude, cold weather tri­als). All three teams are si­mul­ta­ne­ously in coun­try for the crit­i­cal phases in Ban­ga­lore and Ladakh. Dis­cus­sions will also be con­ducted on trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy to de­fault li­cence man­u­fac­tur­ing part­ner the Bharat Dy­nam­ics Ltd (BDL). So far, all three sys­tems have per­formed to spec­i­fi­ca­tions and ex­pec­ta­tions, sources say. The Army is look­ing for a sys­tem that can be de­ployed in mul­ti­ple con­fig­u­ra­tions in­clud­ing man-por­ta­ble, fit­ted on a twin-launcher, based on a high-mo­bil­ity ve­hi­cle, ship-based and sub­ma­rine based. The weapon sys­tems fielded have so far demon­strated sev­eral ca­pa­bil­i­ties dur­ing tri­als, in­clud­ing mul­ti­ple tar­get de­tec­tion and track­ing by day and night, pro­vid­ing tar­get ac­qui­si­tion to the mu­ni­tion, en­gage­ment of aerial tar­gets, etc.

As things stand, the com­pe­ti­tion could go ei­ther way, and the fight is fierce. Rosoboronex­port, which dis­played its Igla-S sys­tem at De­f­expo 2012 is con­fi­dent that its new gen­er­a­tion sys­tem is a fit­ting re­place­ment for the legacy MANPADS Igla cur­rently in ser­vice with the In­dian Army, and that type com­mon­al­ity could be a game-changer.

Ac­cord­ing to MBDA, “In­dia is look­ing to re­place its old Igla sys­tems. With Mis­tral MANPADS in their in­ven­tory, In­dia’s armed forces would have a sys­tem that weighs less than 19 kgs ren­der­ing it eas­ily por­ta­ble by two op­er­a­tors, rapidly brought into ac­tion and fired. Be­ing a fire-and-for­get sys­tem, once the im­me­di­ate threat has been en­gaged, at­ten­tion can then be turned to­wards other tar­gets, a cru­cial ad­van­tage that man-in-the-loop laser beam rid­ing sys­tems do not have. For an en­emy pi­lot, at ranges of up to 6 km and be­yond, Mis­tral’s pas­sive IR seeker means that it is very hard to de­tect and de­fend against.”

Saab con­tends, “The RBS 70 NG is on of­fer to the In­dian Army to fill a cru­cial need gap. The all-new RBS 70 NG VSHORAD sys­tem is a ver­sa­tile bat­tle­field game changer and will of­fer crit­i­cal edge in the spec­trum of de­ploy­ment. We be­lieve that the RBS 70 NG meets and ex­ceeds the re­quire­ments of the In­dian Army for a sys­tem that has mul­ti­ple tar­get seek­ing and track­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, multi-launcher ca­pa­bil­ity, abil­ity to de­ploy from high mo­bil­ity ve­hi­cles and ship and sub­ma­rine naval ves­sels, abil­ity to en­gage aerial tar­gets by day and night and aerial tar­get de­tec­tion ca­pa­bil­ity.”

Rus­sia’s KBM new gen­er­a­tion Igla-S

French MBDA Mis­tral

Swe­den’s Saab RBS 70 NG

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