Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Army keen to acquire Spyder missile

Aug. 18: The Indian Army is keen on the acquisition of Israeli Spyder surface-to-air missile system to shore up its outdated air defence mechanism. The Indian Army is keen on forming at least three regiments with Spyder missiles and is pushing for an initial one regiment at least of the Israeli missile. Each regiment could have about 12 Spyder missile systems. The issue is believed to have come up for discussion at the meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council of the ministry of defence on Monday. Sources said the Indian Army is keen to shore up its air defence capabilities.

The Spyder missiles are a quick-reaction medium-range surface-to-air missile system that is capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters and drones. The Indian Air Force is also keenly looking forward to acquisition of Spyder missiles.

The current air defence missiles with the Army are the Igla, Strela, Quadrat and OSA-K missiles. The Indian Army is of the view that missiles with the latest technologies need to be incorporated into its air defence arsenal so that defence preparedness is not affected. "Most air defence missiles with the Army were acquired before 1985," sources said.

A large percentage of the Indian Army’s air-defence guns are also obsolete and the Army will need to acquire modern air defence guns also, sources have said. Currently, the Army has air defence guns of Soviet Russian vintage like the L-70 (single-barrel guns which were acquired in the 1960s), the ZU-23 (twin-barrel guns which were acquired in the 1980s) and the Schilka air defence guns (four barrel guns acquired in the 1970s). Sources said the Army will need modern eight-barrel air defence guns capable of ensuring adequate air-defence. The government has been maintaining that it is modernising equipment of the armed forces.

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