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In a significant move to bolster its air defence capabilities, India is progressing swiftly with Project Kusha, a mission aimed at developing a state-of-the-art air defence system that rivals the effectiveness of the renowned S-400 system. This visionary initiative, greenlit by the Cabinet Committee on Security in May 2022, is now in full swing and has garnered considerable attention.

Project Kusha encompasses a multifaceted approach to enhance India’s air defence capabilities. The defence ministry recently granted the much-anticipated Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the acquisition of five squadrons of this advanced system, designed specifically for the Indian Air Force (IAF). This pivotal development comes with an estimated budget of Rs 21,700 crore, signifying the nation’s commitment to building a formidable defence infrastructure.

At the heart of Project Kusha are three long-range Interceptor missiles, each serving as a critical component of India’s air defence system. These missiles will be engineered to possess ranges of 150km, 250km, and 350km, thereby providing a comprehensive shield against aerial threats. Furthermore, they are designed with a remarkable single-shot kill probability of at least 85%, offering a high level of confidence in their effectiveness.

One of the remarkable features of this air defence system is the ability to increase the probability of killing to a staggering 98.5% when two different missiles are launched sequentially, with a mere five-second gap. This dual-missile approach ensures a robust response to aerial threats, further enhancing the nation’s security.

A pivotal aspect of Project Kusha is the development of long-range surveillance and fire control radars. These cutting-edge radars will possess the capability to scan airspace up to 500-600km deep into enemy territory, offering crucial strategic advantages. This capability empowers the IAF with the ability to monitor the entire Pakistani airspace and penetrate deep into the Tibetan plateau, where the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) airbases are strategically located.
The air defence system is also set to incorporate a secondary very high-frequency (VHF) radar array, a key element in the project. VHF radar arrays are renowned for their superior detection capabilities against stealth platforms, significantly enhancing the system’s ability to identify and respond to aerial threats.

In summary, Project Kusha represents India’s resolute commitment to advancing its air defence capabilities. With the development of long-range Interceptor missiles, cutting-edge radar technology, and a robust response strategy, India is poised to strengthen its defence infrastructure and safeguard its airspace effectively. As the project progresses, India is primed to meet the evolving challenges in the realm of national security and enhance its ability to respond decisively to potential threats.

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