Indian Air Force gets medium-range missile defence system

Published : September 11, 2021 13:55 IST

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh looking at the MRSAM missiles during its induction ceremony at the Air Force Station, Jaisalmer, on September 09. Photo: Vijay Verma/PTI

The Jaisalmer-based 2204 Squadron, the ‘Invincibles’, has become the first unit in the Indian Air Force (IAF) to be equipped with the lethal Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM) system. The first of the 18 deliverable firing units of the MRSAM System was, on September 9, handed over to the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria, by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at a function at the Air Force Station, Jaisalmer.

The MRSAM is an advanced, network-centric combat air-defence system developed jointly by the DRDO and the Israel Aerospace Industries in collaboration with Indian industry partners from the private and public sectors, including MSMEs.

It is fitted with the Israeli supersonic Barack missile. The MRSAM system can destroy aircraft at distances of up to 110 kilometres, and is capable of simultaneously launching 24 missiles on 16 targets at ranges up to 70 km. Being quickly transportable, the missile system makes it difficult for the enemy to accurately mark its presence on the ground.

The MRSAM system provides point and area air defence for ground assets against a wide range of threats, including fighter aircraft, UAVs, helicopters, drones, guided and unguided munitions, sub-sonic and supersonic cruise missiles and other munitions. The missile is powered by an indigenously-developed rocket motor and control system for achieving high manoeuvrability during the terminal phase. The firing unit consists of missiles, Combat Management System (CMS), Mobile Launcher Systems (MLS), Advanced Long Range Radar, Mobile Power System (MPS), Radar Power System (RPS), Reloader Vehicle (RV) and the Field Service Vehicle (FSV).

Rajnath Singh termed the missile system “one of the best state-of-the-art missile systems in the world”. Describing the development of the MRSAM system as a shining example of the close partnership between India and Israel, the Defence Minister added that the collaboration had played an important role in strengthening the defence industrial bases of India and Israel.

With the Indian Navy having already received another version of the MRSAM, it is expected that the Indian Army’s requirements will also be expedited.

The Invincibles, originally raised in Bhatinda (in 1975), had in their arsenal the ‘Pechora’ surface-to-air missile. The squadron was relocated to Pune in 1993, and to Jaisalmer in 2015.