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The Indian Air Force (IAF) is taking significant strides in enhancing its long-range air defense capabilities with the initiation of Project Kusha. This ambitious project aims to develop an indigenous S-400 air defense system, and it has received the green light for full-scale development. Supported by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Project Kusha represents a significant leap forward in India’s air defense capabilities.

Project Kusha marks a significant milestone in India’s quest for self-reliance in defense technology. With approval granted, the DRDO and the IAF are set to collaborate on the development of two interceptor missiles that will form the core of the indigenous air defense system.

  1. ERSAM (Extended Range Surface to Air Missile) Interceptor:
    • Range: 150 kilometers
    • Purpose: Designed to engage and neutralize aerial threats at an extended range, the ERSAM interceptor missile will play a critical role in safeguarding India’s airspace from potential threats.
  2. XRSAM (eXtra-long Range Surface to Air Missile) Interceptor:
    • Range: 250 kilometers (fighter-sized targets), 350-400 kilometers (Force Multiplier size targets like AWACS/FRA)
    • Purpose: The XRSAM interceptor missile is tailored for countering both fighter-sized targets and larger airborne platforms like Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) and Force Multipliers. Its extended reach provides a comprehensive protective umbrella.

The ERSAM interceptor missile, often referred to as the “Indian S-400 Air Defense system,” is set to revolutionize India’s air defense capabilities. Leveraging technology developed for the Medium-Range Surface to Air Missile (MR-SAM) and AD-1 Anti-Ballistic Interceptor missiles, these interceptors will empower the IAF to engage and neutralize aerial threats at long distances.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been at the forefront of India’s efforts to develop cutting-edge defense technology. With its extensive experience and expertise, DRDO has already provided the IAF with MR-SAM missile systems valued at over Rs 14,500 crore, further enhancing India’s air defense capabilities.

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