New Delhi: The national capital is set to get a multi layered missile defence system soon, just like Washington, with the US government notifying its Congress of the impending sale of an integrated air defence weapon system (IADWS) to New Delhi for USD 1.86 billion known as the NASAMS II.
The development comes ahead of US President Donald Trump’s two-day visit to India from February 24-25.
The US said that the proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defensive partner, “which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region”.
National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II), a network centric short to medium range ground based air defence system, will be part of the overall air defence shield for the national capital which includes the indigenous Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) shield.
The Print had reported last month that the BMD programme is complete, and the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are now working on a proposal to seek the government’s nod to install the missile shield for the national capital.
Part of the overall multi-layered air defence shield
The NASAMS II, a product of Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and American firm Raytheon, will be used for New Delhi along with the BMD and the current air defence systems from Russia (Pechora) and Israel (Spyder).
They will form part of the overall air defence systems of the country which will include the S 400 Triumf air from Russia and the Indo-Israel joint venture product Barak-8 medium range surface to air missile.
The NASAMS II, which comes with net centric architecture, multiple simultaneous engagements and beyond visual range (BVR) capabilities, was first deployed in Washington DC in 2005 as part of the steps taken to protect the city from another 9/11 type attack.
Since then, it has been deployed in 15 countries.
Enhancing greater interoperability between India and the US
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had in 2018 approved the “acceptance of necessity (AoN) for NASAMS II. However, at that time, the cost considered was about USD 1 billion.
The Defence Security Cooperation Agency of the US government said that the proposed sale to India included 5 AN/MPQ-64Fl Sentinel radar systems, 118 AMRAAM AIM-120C-7/C-8 missiles (the surface to air version of the medium range air to air missile used by Pakistan against India post Balakot strike), 3 AMRAAM Guidance Sections, 134 Stinger FIM-92L missiles.
Also included are 32 M4A1 rifles, Handheld Remote Terminals, High Mobility Launchers, Multi-spectral Targeting System-Model A (MTS-A), Canister Launchers (CN), High Mobility Launchers (HML), Dual Mount Stinger (DMS) Air Defense Systems among other systems associated with NASAMS.
The Agency said that the proposed sale will contribute to India’s military goal to update its capability while further enhancing greater interoperability between India, the US, and other allies.