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Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) have emerged as a silent warrior in the Ukrainian air defence system that has played a crucial role in taking out not only Russia’s Shahed-136 loitering munition, UAVs but also Gunship Helicopters, sub-sonic cruise missiles and even manned fighter jets

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) this month accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) to procure the Very Short Range Air Defence System (VSHORAD) missile system, designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Indian Army is keen to beef up its layered air defence network and has identified MANPADS as an area that needs to be upgraded over Vintage Russian-supplied Igla-M MANPADS.

VSHORAD is meant to kill low-altitude aerial threats at short ranges and its performance against saturated attacks using sub-sonic cruise missiles or loitering munition and Usage of Air Defence systems to take out low-cost loitering munition can become an expensive deal due to which procurement of next-generation MANPADS has become a top priority now for the Indian Army.

The cheapest option to take out loitering munition remains Air Defence Guns Systems but an addition to MANPADS also provides an additional layered air defence network to take out low-cost aerial threats so that Air Defence systems are not overused.

DRDO already carried out two successful developmental trials from a makeshift ground-based portable launcher last year and soon it will be tested for fresh developmental trials in near production-ready configuration this year. DRDO already has tied up with Adani Defence as one of its production partners other being Bharat Dynamics Limited to speed up the production of the VSHORAD in the anticipation of major orders as soon it clears developmental trials.

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