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The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) innovative Surface Air Missile for Assured Retaliation (SAMAR) system has garnered significant interest from various countries, according to IAF officials at the MSME Defence Exposition in Pune.

SAMAR is a unique air defense system developed by the IAF to utilize its stock of aging Russian-origin R-73 and R-27 air-to-air missiles (AAMs) that are no longer deemed fit for deployment on fighter jets. By repurposing these missiles, SAMAR offers a cost-effective and sustainable solution for bolstering air defense capabilities.

IAF officials revealed to that several countries operating Russian fighter jets have expressed keen interest in the SAMAR program. This interest stems from the system’s ability to provide a new lease of life to existing AAM inventories, preventing them from being scrapped and maximizing their potential value.

The IAF is reportedly open to collaborating with interested nations to help them establish their own SAMAR-like air defense systems. This collaborative approach would enable these countries to effectively utilize their aging AAM stocks while strengthening their air defense postures.

Russian-supplied AAMs typically have an 8-10 year shelf life when stored appropriately. However, their operational lifespan significantly reduces when used on combat aircraft due to the demanding conditions encountered during missions. While refurbishment can extend their operational time, eventually, these missiles reach a point where they require alternative solutions. SAMAR offers a viable option to prevent them from becoming obsolete.

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