India’s air defense capabilities received a boost recently with the arrival of the first batch of the Igla-S air defence system from Russia.

More on the news

  • The Indian Army has received the first batch of 24 Russia-made Igla-S Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS), along with 100 missiles.
  • This acquisition bolsters the Indian Army’s Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) capabilities.

Significance of Igla-S

  • It is a hand-held defence system that can be operated by an individual or crew.
  • It is designed to bring down low-flying aircraft and can also identify and neutralise air targets such as cruise missiles and drones.
  • It is a new generation advanced version of the Igla MANPADS
  • Its acquisition addresses the Indian Army’s need to replace the outdated Igla-1M systems.

The Igla-S system comprises: 

  • The Igla-S system includes launching and firing mechanisms (missiles and launchers), maintenance equipment (mobile test stations and test sets), and training facilities.
  • Combat equipment, including the 9M342 missile and the 9P522 launching mechanism, maintenance equipment. 
  • It also includes the 9V866-2 mobile test station and the 9F719-2 test set, training facilities.
  • The Igla-S can engage targets within a range of 5,000 meters and an altitude of 3,500 meters.
  • It also has night vision capability for low-light operations.

Russian Contract and Indigenous Production

  • India signed a contract with Russia in November last year for 120 launchers and 400 missiles.
  • The first batch has come from Russia, the rest of these systems will be made in India through the Transfer of Technology (ToT) from Russia by an Indian company.

Why a Russian Manufacturer?

  • In 2018, Russia’s Rosoboronexport-manufactured Igla-S won a competitive bid as the lowest bidder (L1) over France’s MBDA-manufactured Mistral and Sweden’s SAAB-manufactured RBS 70 NG.

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