India building 'missile shield' over major cities
31 July 2018
In a bid to safeguard its major cities from aerial attacks, India is in the process of acquiring defence systems from the US, Israel and Russia to ensure “a missile shield” over many places.
Defence ministry officials have revealed that the country is in talks with the US for acquiring the National Advanced Surface-to-air missile system-II (Nasams-II), worth an estimated $1 billion.
The system will help prevent attacks such as the 9/11, in which terrorists hijacked two aircraft and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York.
A Nasams-II battery system includes about a dozen multi-missile launchers, each of which will be equipped with six AIM-120 series advanced medium-range, air-to-air missiles (Amraams), or surface-to-air missiles (SAMS). They will also be equipped with eight sophisticated radars and electro-optical or infrared sensor systems.
While the government has not officially acknowledged that it is in talks with suppliers in other countries, reports claim that a defence acquisition council headed by minister Nirmala Sitharaman has cleared the procurement of Nasams-II batteries through the US foreign military sales programme as part of its ‘Delhi area defence plan.’
India is also keen on acquiring missiles, radars and drones, besides attack helicopters from the US. In case the US agrees to the sale, it would be the first, non-NATO nation buying drones from America.
The country is also in talks with Russia to acquire the S-400 Triumf air defence missile system at a cost of about Rs40,000 crore. The deal is likely to be signed in a few months.
The defence ministry will also be inducting the first batch of the intercontinental ballistic missile system, Agni V. The missiles have a strike range of 5,000 km and can carry nuclear warheads.
The current stable of missiles include the Agni-1 (700-km range), Agni-2 (2,000-km), Agni-3 and Agni-4 (2,500-km to 3,500-km).
The government also aims to deploy the much-delayed, two-tier ballistic missile defence (BMD) shield, being developed indigenously by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.