NEW DELHI — India will strengthen its airfield defenses through the procurement of improved anti-missile systems and radars, Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony told a meeting of senior Air Force commanders here April 10.
“The air defense system of the Indian Air Force is being further strengthened with new inductions and integration of weapons and modern sensors,” Antony said. “All airfields of IAF are being upgraded in a phased manner with modern navigation equipment and runway aids.”
Currently, the Air Force is using Russian-made Osaka and Pechora systems, and eight squadrons of homemade Akash medium-range surface-to-air missile systems have been ordered in the last two years.
The Russian S-300 anti-tactical ballistic missile system also is in use, while a homemade anti-missile missile system, the Pad-3, is under development by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.
A variety of short- and medium-power radar systems are also being procured to replace existing radars, an Indian Air Force official said.
A Defence Ministry release related to the commanders’ conference, however, does not mention the procurement process for the Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). France’s Dassault, which entered the Rafale fighter jet, has been declared the preferred vendor in the multibillion-dollar contest.
A Defence Ministry official, however, said the procurement is on track andis in the contract negotiation stage, where Dassault is engaged in talks with the Indian team to thrash out issues relating to technology transfer and pricing before Rafale is declared winner in the $11 billion MMRCA deal.