Issue Brief on “India’s Indigenous Self-Propelled Air Defence Gun Missile System”

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Introduction

On June 4, 2021, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) of the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh approved the “Purchase of indigenous air defence guns” and “ammunition” amounting to Rs. 6,000 crore INR (approx. 0.9 billion USD).[1] The said acquisition is expected to include air defence guns and Surface to Air Missiles (SAMs) that could provide effective aerial defence against threats including low-level aircrafts, helicopters, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Precision-Guided Munitions (PGMs), and cruise missiles. The decision to acquire such weapons was to encourage domestic arms manufacturers, made under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative of “AtmaNirbhar Bharat” (Buy and Make in India or self-reliant India).[2] However, due to unforeseen reasons, the acquisition was delayed, and Janes reported on October 13, 2022, that the programme was restarted.[3]

In plain language, the recent purchase order is a combination of indigenously produced air defence guns and a missile system mounted on a self-propelled vehicle, which is likely to be a wheeled or a tracked vehicle having armour protection against small arms fire. Theoretically, the capabilities of the proposed system are much similar to the Russian Pantsir S1 air-defence missile-gun system mounted on a self-propelled 8 x 8 wheeled platform. The latter is claimed to be capable of performing as a stand-alone Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) being capable enough of countering cruise missiles, free-fall bombs, and PGMs in flight.[4]

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