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By Bulbul Singh

20 Apr 11. India has entered the global market to procure Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missiles (MRSAM)for the Indian Air Force. The total order is expected to be over $1bn. The RFI asked the companies to detail the technical specifications of their systems. After the requirements are received, a formal RFP will be sent to a shortlist of vendors to compete for the tender. India and Israel signed a deal in early 2009 under which Rafael of Israel and DRDO of India will jointly develop MRSAM systems for the Indian Air Force estimated to be around $3bn.

Sources in the Indian defence ministry said, “The hunt for a new MRSAM in the global market followed a last minute change in a decision not to buy MRSAMs on government-to-government basis from Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI).

“Early this year, a decision was taken to buy one Regiment’s-worth (18 systems) of MRSAMs from IAI at a cost of $1.2bn but the decision was changed last month, thus the new RFI,” said sources.

The MRSAMs being bought from IAI were similar to those being made by the joint Indo-Israeli MRSAM project.

The Indian Air Force wants each firing unit to be able to function independently and should also be able to interact with other Firing Units within a common engagement zone to avoid overkill.

The Firing Units should have a Multi Functional Radar (MFR) which should be active phased array radar for 3D target information to the centralized control unit. It should be able to feed the information to the centralized network for overall command and control. This radar should be able to provide long range early warning and a capability of Track While Scan. In addition each unit should have a Fire Control Unit which would be fed with the information from the MFR for exercising command and control over the complete firing system. It should be able to prioritize threats and allocate resource. The launchers should be highly mobile and should have number of missiles. The missiles should have an active seeker. In addition each firing unit should have a System Simulator with one simulator being an integral part of the unit.

The MRSAM systems would be used to defend the country’s vital tactical and strategic locations and high-security zones from enemy threats and possible aerial attacks.

The Indian Air Force wants the MRSAM to be capable of all-weather, all-terrain and day-and-night operation with a 3.5 km altitude ceiling. The system should be capable of engaging multiple targets against all types of targets in a network-centric operations environment.

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