New Delhi: India's ageing air-defence resources are due to undergo a generational change, with the government sanctioning the joint development and co-production of a new generation of medium range surface-to-air missiles (MR-SAM) for the Indian Air Force (IAF). The missiles will be co-developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the IAF in partnership with Israeli defence major, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
The cabinet committee on security (CCS), which met under the chairmanship of prime minister, Manmohan Singh cleared the setting up of a joint venture for the production of the missiles on Thursday, at an estimated cost of Rs10,000 crore ( US$2.5 billion).
The new generation, 70 km range, Barak missiles are intended to secure the country's strategic assets from increasingly sophisticated aerial and missile threats in the region.
The DRDO has been designated as the "prime contractor" for the project, which will have an indigenous component of Rs2,300 crore.
The new generation missiles are meant to replace the IAF's ageing force of Russian-made Pechora, OSA-AK and Igla missile systems, and also plug some dangerous gaps in the country's air defence network.