The efficacy of three different systems, Indian, Russian and the United States/Norway working on a common platform remains a major concern and may create gaps that could be exploited by potential adversaries.
Multiple media reports indicate that the United States has approved the sale of Integrated Air Defence Weapon System to India at a cost of $1.867 billion. A notification has been sent to the US Congress to sell India the Integrated Air Defense Weapon System (IADWS) for an estimated cost of $1.867 billion.
This comes even as it is well known that in October 2018, India and Russia have signed a contract for supply of the Russian manufactured S-400 Triumf (NATO SA-21 Growler) during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to India.
The induction of the S 400 is expected to provide an exceptional air defence cover to a large expanse of India’s Western and Northern borders.
The multifunction radar, command and control and autonomous detection, ensures that the system is capable of providing a layered defence.
This would facilitate vectoring Indian combat fighters to intercept aerial threats in real time be it enemy fighters, UAVs or missiles.
As per Army Technology, S 400 can engage multiple targets to include, “aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and ballistic and cruise missiles within the range of 400km, at an altitude of up to 30km. The system can simultaneously engage 36 targets,” and is said to be two times more effective than the S 300 which preceded it.
Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev recently confirmed that Russia will deliver the five S-400 air defence systems by 2025.
The National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS™) is also a highly adaptable mid-range solution for any operational air defense requirement as per the website of Raytheon and Kongsberg.
The system provides the air defender with a tailorable, state-of-the-art defense system that can maximize their ability to quickly identify, engage and destroy current and evolving enemy aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicle or emerging cruise missile threats.
NASAMS is owned by seven countries and has been integrated into the U.S.’ National Capital Region’s air defense system since 2005. In addition to the U.S., it is in service in Norway, Finland, Spain, The Netherlands and one undisclosed country. It is also currently in production for Oman.
Norwegian defence major Kongsberg on its web site gives out the characteristics of the NASAMS to include the following:-
Open architecture provides growth potential
Single and multiple engagement capability
Unprecedented fire capability
Beyond visual range capability with active seeker missile
Strategic and high mobility
Low manpower requirements
Network Centric Warfare principles of operation
High survivability against electronic countermeasures
Look down / shoot down capability
High value asset defense, area and army defense, vital point and air base defense
The proven, fielded, reliable and highly capable NASAMS system contains a BMC4I (Battle Management, Command, Control, Computers, Communications, and Intelligence) Air Defense capability through the integration of sensors and launchers. It employs the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AIM-120) as the primary weapon.
Targets are detected and tracked by a high-resolution, 3D pencil beam radar. Multiple of these radars and the associated Fire Distribution Centres (FDCs) are netted together via radio data links, creating a real-time recognized air picture.
NASAMS can fire on target data provided by external sensors. Advanced emission control features of the radars minimize the risk of revealing the NASAMS unit's own position. The FDC automatically performs track correlation, identification, jam strobe triangulation, threat evaluation and weapon assignment. The AMRAAM missiles used within NASAMS are identical to those used on fighter aircraft, yielding considerable rationalization returns for the user.
In addition to NASAMS and the S 400, India is planning to deploy indigenous Ballistic Missile Defence system which as per the Print has endo-atmospheric (within Earth’s atmosphere) and exo-atmospheric (the space stretching beyond Earth’s atmosphere) potential. Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) missile will intercept incoming missiles at a range of about 80 km in altitude and an Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile for altitudes of 15-25 km.
Under the circumstances, problem of intercommunications and interoperability for Indian Armed Forces due to platforms procured from multiple international partners may grow acute in the hyper networked environment .The efficacy of three different systems working on a common platform remains a major concern and may create gaps that could be exploited by potential adversaries.