SOURCE: SUDESH CHARI / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
DRDO has set an ambitious target of making India “missile import free” by 2022, DRDO informed Prime Minister’s Office that in next 7 years India will have enough Indigenous missiles systems to substitute imported weapons systems and will not have to depend on imported missile in terms of air-to-ground, surface-to-air or the air-to-air missiles.
DRDO already has developed expertise in the field of strategic missiles such as the Agni, Prithvi and K Series SLBM missile family and is also working on Indigenous Anti-tank and Air to Air missiles which will reduce India’s dependence on Imports, but one of the crucial missiles systems which concerns our front line warships and provides defensive shield to our front line warships are ship-borne point-defense missile system which provides protection against aircraft, anti-ship missiles, and UAVs.
India is still depended on Israeli supplied Barak 1 SAM system to protect its front line warships and Barak-1 at present is deployed on 14 front line warships and While DRDO is yet to take another project after Trishul (Trident) air-defense missile which failed to enter production and was delinked after years of testing and was later dubbed Technology demonstrator and officially was terminated in 2008.
Trishul (Trident) air-defense missile was supposed to serve all three services while main customer could have been Indian navy. Indian air force and Indian army too wanted land based system mounted on a specially modified BMP-1 IFV chassis which was dubbed as Trishul Combat Vehicle. Missile system provided quick-reaction surface-to-air missile system capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vehicles, drones at close range of up to 15km.
Barak 1 SAM system too had its own share of controversy after corruption allegations were leveled and from 2006 No fresh orders were placed, it was only last year in 2014 when CBI closed the case due to lack of evidence and new government placed fresh orders for 262 Barak 1 missiles to replenish existing stock of missiles .
Barak 1 exposed vulnerability of imported missiles systems which can get stuck in red tapes or stumble upon allegations of corruption. Due to limited supply of missile, Navy was left with a vacuum and many to its frontline warships like Aircraft carrier were under equipped or were not carrying any missiles at all .
While DRDO and IAI have already developed next-generation long-range surface-to-air missile (LR-SAM) system AMD systems with 70-km interception range which will soon be tested from India’s front line warship soon but India is still depended on Israeli-built Barak 1 to provide security cover for close encounters.
It will be ideal for India and DRDO to start working on next generation point-defense missile system either has a joint venture or as independent project which in next few years can replace Israeli supplied Barak-1 In next generation warships which currently are been built for Indian Navy.
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