Missiles - $20bn+ Market

Issue: 02-2011By Lt General (Retd) Naresh Chand

Ballistic missile defence (BMD) is an area which is yet being explored and DRDO has carried out some trials but India is yet to go a long way to achieve some sort of semblance of BMD on ground

Surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) are used by the Army, Navy and the Air Force for providing point and area air defence. Ballistic missile defence (BMD) is an area which is yet being explored and DRDO has carried out some trials but India is yet to go a long way to achieve some sort of semblance of BMD on ground.

Major missile systems of the Indian Army

Quick Reaction SAM (QRSAM): The current system is OSA-AK which is a mobile system of Russian origin. Trishul was being developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to replace OSA-AK, but was not successful. A request for proposal (RFP) was issued earlier but was later withdrawn. A fresh RFP is expected to be issued shortly. MBDA’s Maiterya which is being jointly developed with the DRDO, Raytheon’s surface launched advanced medium range air-to-air missile (SLAMRAAM) and Hawk XXI, Spyder of Israeli origin (already inducted into Indian Air Force), Russia’s Tor M-1 are few of the systems in the run. The average cost of a regiment is about $1 billion (Rs. 4,500 crore) plus depending upon the system selected.

Medium Range SAM (MRSAM): The current system is Kvadrat of Russian origin. DRDO was developing Akash but that has been found more suitable for static tasks. Twelve batteries of Akash have already been contracted and the Army still needs MRSAM for mobile tasks. Russia’s BUKM1, Aster30, MICA, Patriot missile and its variants like PAC-2 GEM, GEM/C, GEM/T (or GEM+) (made by Raytheon) and most advanced Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) made by Lockheed Martin could be in the run but Israel and DRDO have a joint venture for MRSAM (earlier named Barak ‘Next Generation’) with a possible range of 70 km. This is an IAF project but could be used by the Army. However, for the interim period, Army may go for some other equipment. Each regiment of MRSAM may cost about $1.5 billion (Rs. 6,800 crore) plus depending upon the numbers and type of system selected.

Shoulder fired SAM systems: The current system is Igla which is also in service with the Navy and the Air Force. Some current systems like Starstreak of UK, Stinger Block 2 of the US and Mistral of France could be considered as a successor. IAF and Indian Navy also hold Igla missiles which need replacement. If the defence forces collectively buy the same system then they will have good bargaining power as the numbers will be very large.