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New Carrier Steaming to India Without Air Defense System

Nov. 26, 2013 - 11:18AM   |  
India's aircraft carrier acquired from Russia will initially lack its air defense system, based on the Barak-8 missile.
India's aircraft carrier acquired from Russia will initially lack its air defense system, based on the Barak-8 missile. (Georges Seguin/Wikimedia)
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NEW DELHI — After a five-year delay in acquiring a Russian aircraft carrier, the Indian Navy will have to wait further before the vessel is equipped with its proposed air defense system.

The Indo-Israeli joint project for the Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) system for the carrier has been hit by technical snags, meaning the Admiral Gorshkov, now renamed Vikramaditya, which was formally received by Defence Minister A.K. Antony Nov. 15, will arrive in India without an air defense system. The system is based on the Israeli Barak missile.

An Indian Navy official admitted the carrier initially will have no air defense system. The carrier, however, will have an advanced electronic warfare jamming system and will be protected as part of a carrier group, the official added. It also will be equipped with an AK-630 rapid-fire gun system to destroy incoming missiles and aircraft.

“The main weaponry of the ship would be the ship-based aircraft, i.e. aircraft and helicopters with their integral weapons,” an Indian Navy spokesman, P.V. Satish, told Defense News.

However, a Navy source said the weaponization would include the fitting of a variety of guns, primarily of 20mm and 30mm.

The LRSAM, which is being jointly developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), is facing technical snags, an Indian Navy spokesman said, but gave no details. The joint development program was conceived in 2007, and LRSAM was to be ready for the Vikramaditya in 2014.

The LRSAM will have a multifunctional acquisition radar, one 3-D S-band guidance radar, one command-and-control system and four launchers, each carrying eight missiles.

IAI can independently install an air defense system, but there have been disputes regarding technology transfer.

The Indian Defence Ministry said it has expressed its concern to Israel about the delay. IAI executives here declined to comment. ■


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