First Batch of Igla-S Air Defence System from Russia Received by Indian Army, to be Deployed at LAC

Defence Industry

New Delhi: The first batch of 24 Russia-made Igla-S Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS), along with 100 missiles being procured by Indian Army has been received, according to media reports.

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

The Indian Army in order to shore up its Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) capabilities, inducted a very small number (24 launchers and 216 missiles) of Igla-S as part of emergency procurement in 2021. According to defence sources, this is a larger order.

Consisting of a single launcher and a missile, the Igla-S systems are under procurement for the new authorised air defence formations for high mountainous terrain along the northern border. One regiment has received these systems, and a few more will get them as deliveries take shape, sources said.

The Request for Proposal (RFP) for VSHORADs was issued in 2010 and later in 2018, Russia’s Rosoboronexport-manufactured Igla-S won a competitive bid as the lowest bidder (L1) over France’s MBDA-manufactured infrared homing short-range air defence system Mistral and Sweden’s SAAB-manufactured RBS 70 NG.

As a portable surface-to-air missile systems, air defence units in high mountainous regions use MANPADS to neutralise low-altitude aerial threats such as aircraft, drones, and missiles. The Indian Army already operates the Igla-1M systems, which need urgent replacement. The order for Igla-S would fulfil the current requirement of the Army for such systems.

The Indian Army will replace the older Igla systems with advanced laser-beam riding and infrared VSHORADS. The contract for the same is likely to be finalised soon. In February this year, the Defence Research and Development Organisation conducted two flight tests of indigenous VSHORADS missiles from a ground-based portable launcher.