India In Rush to Bridge Missiles Gap with Pakistan Air Force
New Delhi (Sputnik): The Indian Air Force (IAF) has expedited the process of acquiring air missiles in an attempt to fill the missile gap that was exposed during the dogfight with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in February this year.
On Thursday, Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems - a joint venture between Kalyani Group and Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems - announced that they bagged a $100 million contract to supply 1,000 Barak-8 medium-range surface to air missile (MRSAM) kits to the Indian Army and Air Force.
These systems will be supplied to Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) for further integration. MRSAMs have been operationally deployed by the IAF. A fire unit of an MRSAM includes a radar system, three missile launchers, and a sophisticated Combat Management System.
In June, the IAF began a user trial of next-generation Russian short-range air-to-air missiles from its primary Su-30MKI warplanes.
Vympel, a subsidiary of Russia's consolidated JSC Tactical Missiles Corporation, started manufacturing missiles after the IAF had placed orders for over 300 short-range R-73 air-to-air missiles and 400 medium-range RVV-AE air-to-air guided missiles.
The IAF has also ordered a Russian-made radar-jamming missile, the X-31 under its current purchase plan.
The IAF plans to integrate MBDA's Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) and Israel's Derby missile with Russian Su-30MKIs, however, sources say that the Indian Defence Ministry will require Russian permission before making changes in the frontline fighter of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
India's National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL) has started the process of integration of ASRAAMs with Su-30MKI aircraft, the government body affirmed in its 2017-18 annual report.
The IAF had faced a shortage of air-to-air missiles after an increased number of combat air patrol missions along the border with Pakistan, involving its mainstream fighters such as the Su-30MKI, MiG-29, and Mirage 2000.
It is also believed that Pakistan's Air Force displayed an upper hand in terms of missile capabilities, with their missiles having higher standoff ranges.
The two nuclear-armed countries reached a near war-like situation on 27 February, when the Pakistan Air Force launched a retaliatory airstrike with over a dozen fighter jets in Kashmir and brought down one fighter jet in the ensuing dogfight. A day before, the IAF had destroyed alleged terror infrastructure in Balakot inside Pakistan in a pre-emptive non-military strike.
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