SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has taken a proactive step to enhance its defence capabilities by deciding to fund and develop low-cost Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) solutions. These systems are designed to safeguard against emerging low-cost aerial threats such as loitering ammunitions and subsonic cruise missiles. The move comes as the threat landscape is rapidly evolving, necessitating innovative solutions to protect key airbases and facilities.
IAF airbases are typically equipped with Surface and Air Defense systems that provide what is known as “Inner Cover” against aerial threats, including fighter jets and helicopters. However, recent conflicts, such as the Russian-Ukraine war, have highlighted the use of cost-effective loitering ammunition and subsonic cruise missiles. These threats are not only more affordable than traditional missiles used for interception but can also lead to saturation attacks, overwhelming existing air defence systems.
Saturation attacks can be particularly challenging to counter, and they can substantially increase the operational cost for the defending party. In response, the IAF has set in motion plans to develop CIWS systems that are not only cost-effective but can also be mass-produced in the event of a conflict. These systems will serve as a critical layer of defence, providing protection against low-cost threats and ensuring the security of key airbases and facilities.
The CIWS systems under development by the IAF will encompass both gun-based and short-range missile-based solutions. These cost-effective systems will help the IAF maintain a robust defence against evolving aerial threats. By opting for more budget-friendly CIWS solutions, the IAF aims to effectively counter these threats while managing the associated costs.
Additionally, the IAF has already initiated the deployment of anti-drone technologies at its forward bases. This move was prompted by a rogue drone attack by Pakistan-backed terrorists in 2021, aimed at damaging military helicopters deployed at Jammu airport. The IAF recognizes the importance of staying ahead of evolving threats, and its comprehensive approach includes not only CIWS systems but also anti-drone measures to protect its assets.
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