Thursday, 14 April 2011

India to buy SAMs? What happened to Akash?

Akash which was finally accepted into the armed forces is still to find it s niche it seems.
To plug gaps and build up a robust air defence system, India will soon buy a large number of missiles to defend the country's vital tactical and strategic locations and high-security zones from enemy threats and possible aerial attacks, an officer said Wednesday.
Ahead of issuing a tender for the purchase of medium-range surface-to-air (MRSAM) missiles, the defence ministry has this week issued a request for information (RFI) from global and domestic missile manufacturers asking them if they could supply the weapon system within a short time-frame to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
"The defence ministry intends to procure the MRSAM system for the Indian Air Force and the system will be required for air defence of vital areas and points. The MRSAM is required in an early time-frame," a senior IAF officer said here Wednesday.
The MRSAM will be capable of all-weather, all-terrain and day-and-night operation with a 3.5 km altitude ceiling. The system will be capable of engaging multiple targets against all types of targets in a network-centric operations environment.
The MRSAM is required by the IAF to augment its existing inventory of Soviet-vintage OSA-AK and Pechora air defence missile systems.
A surface-to-air missile is a weapon designed to be launched from the ground to destroy incoming aircraft or missiles and is usually deployed in an air defence role as an anti-aircraft system. MRSAMs ideally have a range of 70 km to 90 km to engage its intended target.
The MRSAM is activated with the use of radars and sensors that detect the incoming aircraft or missile and fire the missile as a counter measure.
The IAF's current requirement is for multifunctional active phased array radar for early warning of a three-dimensional target and linking this information to a central fire control unit to activate the air defence mechanism.
This procurement will be over and above the 18 MRSAM units that India is buying from Israel in a $1 billion deal signed in 2009.

In February 2006, therefore, Israel and India signed a joint development agreement to create a new Barak-NG medium shipborne air defense missile, as an evolution of the Barak-1 system in service with both navies. In July 2007 the counterpart MR-SAM project began moving forward, aiming to develop a medium range SAM for use with India’s land forces. Both missiles would now be called Barak-8. In between, India decided to buy Israeli “SPYDER” Mobile Air Defense System. It was a move to begin buying mobile, short-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems for its army, based on the Python and Derby air-to-air missiles in service with its air force and naval aircraft.
Barak is a supersonic, vertically-launched short range air defense system, with an operational range of about 10 km/ 6 miles. That pushes it past the standard ranges of shoulder-launched options with naval counterparts, like the MBDA Mistral/SIMBAD or Saab Boofors’ RBS-70, but short of other small vertical launch options like the RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow. Its closest western compettors on the international market are probably Raytheon’s horizontally-fired Amero-German RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile, and MBDA’s flexible Crotale VT-1/NG. Key attributes include a compact 8-cell vertical launching system that weighs just 1,700 kg, coupled with an equally compact 1,300 kg fire control system. This makes it easier to instal in small ships, and to retrofit into older vessels.
Barak-1 reportedly in service with at Israel, Chile, India, Singapore, and Venezuela.
India bought over $300 million worth of these missiles as a substitute for the indigenous but long-delayed Trishul (“Trident”) missile project, and Barak systems now equip many of the ships in India’s Navy. The missile’s fast response time, effectiveness against missile threats, and compact size are considerable assets, but they are currently offset somewhat by its range.
Israel’s SPYDER air defense system follows a recent trend of using advanced air-air missiles designed for fighter jets as ground-launched surface-to-air missiles (SAM). This truck-mounted system mixes radar and optical tracking with any combination of short to medium-range Derby 4 and ultra-agile short-range 5th generation Python 5 air to air missiles, in order to create a versatile system adapted for a wider range of threats. Hence its inclusion in in our AMRAAM FOCUS article’s “international competitors” section.
India has become the system’s inaugural export customer. SPYDER will reportedly replace India’s Russian-made OSA-AKM/SA-8 Gecko and ZRK-BD Strela-10M/ SA-13 Gopher SAM systems, and the purchase has decisively shelved the Indian DRDO’s failed Trishul project.

Now the question arises if for short range spyder missiles are there and for medium range we are going to buy other products then what is the use of Akash. Army is looking for shoulder fire missiles.Is the Akash project news just face saving news? Is it dead like the trishul project? These are some questions which remain unanswered.