Prime Minister Narendra Modi while attending Combined Commanders’ Conference at Kevadia in Gujarat, was showcased some of the locally developed weapon systems that were developed by Army and Air Force Workshops where most of the systems were often designed and engineered by engineers and soldiers. Modi was seen with SAMAR (Surface to Air Missile for Assured Retaliation) which is unique since it was developed by Army and Air Force workshops in joint development between both the force as informed to the

SAMAR at a glance seems to be Russian developed Vympel R-73, a short-range infrared-guided (heat-seeking) air-to-air missile mounted on a vintage Ural-4320 6×6 Army Truck that has been reconfigured for surface-to-air defense roles. SAMAR also seems to be equipped with a basic Twin-electro-optical (EO) sensor that can be seen in the image providing a basic target positioning and the inbuilt passive infrared homing seeker and the radar proximity target sensor in the missile system does the job, post-launch of the missile, thus requiring minimal ecosystem of Identification, friend or foe (IFF) is a radar-based identification system, surveillance and tracking radars that are often required for a full-fledged air defense system like Akash or MRSAM.

R-73 has a range of 300 meters to 30km in air-to-air missile configuration, but SAMAR might have the same minimum range of 300 meters but the maximum range might be around 10-15 km. But actual reasons behind the requirement for such a system are still not clear but it could be done to have a low-cost surface-to-air missile option against low-cost targets like helicopters and MALE and HALE Class of UAVs.

Defense Analyst Ranesh Rajan tells that it might never go into bulk production but it is still effective against low flying targets and a cheaper way to get rid of older R-73 Stocks that have completed their captive flight hours and now are not worth the risk to be carried on the fighter jet that can endanger aircraft and the life’s of the pilots. Iranian-backed Houthis have used even poorly assembled Russian-made R-27T and R-73 infrared-guided air-to-air missiles captured from Yemen’s air force and mounted them on the back of pickup trucks and shot down a Royal Saudi Air Force Tornado and damaged another F-15.

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