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The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) indigenously developed SAMAR air defence system grabbed attention during Exercise Vayushakti 24 with its distinct launch profile. This short-range system, designed to counter low-flying aerial threats like fighter jets, helicopters, and UAVs, exhibited several unique features during the exercise.

One of the most striking aspects of the SAMAR launch was its initial flat trajectory, mirroring the launch profile of an air-to-air missile fired from an aircraft. This is due to the system’s use of repurposed Vympel R-73E infrared-guided air-to-air missiles (AAMs) that retain their “off-boresight” capability. This means the missiles can be launched at targets not directly in front of the launcher, offering greater flexibility in engagement scenarios.

Another notable aspect was the missile’s pitch-down maneuver after launch. This allows it to quickly transition from the initial climb to a horizontal flight path, maximizing its range and effectiveness against low-flying targets.

Developed jointly by the IAF’s 7 Base Repair Depot (BRD) and 11 BRD, in collaboration with Indian private companies, SAMAR represents a significant step towards self-reliance in air defence systems. Refurbishing existing R-73E missiles instead of acquiring new ones makes the system cost-effective, while the involvement of private companies fosters technological innovation and strengthens the Indian defence ecosystem.

Technical Specifications:

  • Maximum striking range: 12 km
  • Missile: Refurbished Vympel R-73E infrared-guided AAMs
  • Launch mode: Single or salvo
  • Components: Launch beams, fire-control unit, electronic control unit, auxiliary units (crane, power supply, feedback unit)

The successful demonstration of SAMAR at Vayushakti 24 highlights the IAF’s commitment to developing indigenous air defence solutions. The system’s unique launch profile, combined with its cost-effectiveness and potential for further upgrades, makes it a valuable addition to the IAF’s arsenal, bolstering its ability to protect critical air assets against diverse threats.

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