SOURCE: ARUSH SINGH/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
After the procurement of any modern weapon by Indian Armed Forces, Pakistani Government gives a one line answer that they have Tactical Nukes (TNWs) which are made for the battlefield to counter Indian cold start doctrine. In reply, Indian side has made it clear that if Pakistan uses a single TNW on Indian troops, we will retaliate with a full scale nuclear strike. But in reality, the chances of India doing so are very slim even if Pakistan uses a TNW and that is why India is investing heavily to create a multi-layered missile defense system.
To protect its major cities, India is in the process of buying S400s from Russia. India is also working on perfecting its own BMD System. Apart from that, India already has S300s and other missile defense systems which can stop a ballistic missile. But if India decides to move these systems along with the conventional forces in a cold start doctrine, it will lead to risking the multi billion missile defense systems under immense irrational threats which can be dealt easily with cheaper alternatives.
SPYDER is a low level quick reaction SAM system which is procured by India from Israel. It can stop cruise missiles, aircrafts, UAVs etc using its PYTHON and DERBY missiles. It uses EL/M 2084 Multimode Radar which can detect 1100 targets at a time up to distances of 250 km. This Radar and seeker technology is also used by Israel in another missile defense system which is aka DAVID’S SLING. Even though this system was offered to India in 2010, India refused to procure it because US pressurized Israel not to sell the system to India at that time. USA has co funded the David Sling system along with Israel. This system is very lethal when it comes to the interception of short range ballistic missiles (which can be termed as TNWs) due to its use of a cost effective, 2 stage interceptor with a multimode seeker known as STUNNER. The STUNNER interceptors uses direct hit to kill technology to destroy the target and can be used to intercept short range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and large caliber rockets at ranges between 40 km to 300 km. If India buy four batteries of these interceptors, which may cost around 300 million $, it is technically possible to integrate it with the command and control centre of the SPYDER System. This will have following advantages:
1. Protection of Indian Forces involved in the Cold start from short range ballistic missiles and nuclear capable cruise missiles.
2. No risk of losing a highly strategic ballistic missile defense system like S400, S300 or BMD which are to be used to intercept IRBMs and ICBMs.
3. Since Radar, Command and control Posts, etc are already procured by India, we have to pay for the interceptors only which are cheaper than the Indigenous BMD missiles and S400 missiles.
4. India will get its hands on a missile with direct hit to kill technology.
5. STUNNER is an excellent all weather interceptor which can be understood from the fact that it will be an integral part of the PAAC-4 missile defense system under development in the USA.
6. Procurement of S400 and other BMDs is for protection of major cities and using a dedicated system to intercept Pakistani TNWs , India can checkmate the TNW card played by Pakistan.
Lastly, I can say that integrating STUNNER with SPYDER is not an imaginative thought. Israel already did this in the DAVID’S SLING. With the recent developments in Indo- US relations, it is likely that US will allow sale of few stunner interceptor batteries to India. With Israeli assistance, we can integrate it with SPYDER system.