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By Bulbul Singh

04 Nov 10. India has entered the global market to buy 5175 Very Short Range Air Defence Missiles (VSHORAD) Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADs) along with associated equipment worth over $1.2 billion. The missile systems will be bought with technology transfer for the missiles and associated equipment. Different specifications include man portable, multi-launcher, high-mobility vehicle based, ship and submarine based.

Bids have been sent to companies in Europe, United States and Russia. Out of the 5175 VSHORAD systems, 2300 systems will be acquired on fully- formed basis, 1260 in semi-knocked down condition and the remaining will be license produced in India. All the systems will be inducted within 48 months from the date of contract signature with the selected vendor. Sources say, the size of the tender will be increased after the vendor is selected.

The tender has a clause with a minimum of 30 per cent of total contract value will be executed through mandatory defence offsets from India. The life of the systems should be a minimum of 25 years from the date of acceptance. The systems will be used by the Indian Air Force Army, Navy and Special Forces.

The VSHORAD will be employed in varied terrain, including high altitude areas of greater than 3500 meters, plains, semi-desert, desert areas, coastal areas and for maritime purposes. As such, the system should be able to operate between temperatures of -25 to +55 degrees Celsius, have the ability to operate in conditions with humidity of more than 98 per cent and in snow, dusty, sandy and maritime conditions.

The weight of the missile, launch tube and firing station should not be more than 25 kilograms and the weight of the sight should not be more than 10 kilograms. The length of the system should be less than two meters and the system should be able to be transported in vehicles, trains and aircraft and should also have the capability to be air dropped. The shelf life should not be less than seven years in storage conditions specified by manufacturer and it should be capable of being stored in field conditions, including maritime conditions, for periods of not less than five years.

The systems should have the capability of engaging aerial targets by day and night with an effective range of six kilometres with a minimum range of 500 meters. The effective height of target engagement should be greater than 3000 meters.

The VSHORAD will be integrated with a passive/active sensor to be mounted on a platform which includes light vehicles. The system should have day/night multiple target capability detection and tracking, provide target coordinates to facilitate target acquisition by the VSHORAD missiles. The systems should also have a C3 system for detection processing and engaging aerial targets.

The time for each missile from container to ready to fire should not exceed ten minutes and the missile must be ready to fire within three seconds of switching on the battery.

The VSHORAD systems will replace existing air defence systems which will be retired in the next five-to-seven years.

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