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The Indian Army has taken a significant step towards strengthening its air defense capabilities with the acquisition of the first batch of Igla-S Man Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) from Russia.

This initial batch comprises 24 launchers and 100 missiles. It forms part of a larger contract signed with Russia in November 2023, encompassing a total of 120 launchers and 400 missiles. Notably, while India received the first installment from Russia, the remaining systems will be manufactured domestically through a Transfer of Technology (ToT) agreement. This signifies a positive move towards self-reliance in defense production.

The Igla-S system is a shoulder-fired, very short-range air defense (VSHORAD) missile system designed for engaging low-altitude aerial threats. It consists of a single, portable launcher and a heat-seeking missile. The Indian Army intends to deploy these systems with its newly authorized air defense formations guarding the country’s northern borders, particularly the high-altitude mountainous regions. This deployment will significantly enhance India’s air defense capabilities in these strategically crucial areas.