IRON DOME BACK ON RADAR OF INDIAN AIR FORCE
By Bulbul Singh
27 Jun 13. India has again begun negotiations with Israel for the purchase of the Iron Dome Missile Defence System. In February 2013, the Indian Air Force Chief (IAF) Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne had announced that there are no plans to buy the Iron Dome. Fresh negotiations follow Israel’s offer to transfer the technology as well for the Iron Dome and sources in the Ministry of Defence say the project negotiations are moving very smoothly.
Sources in Ministry of Defense said, “Tel Aviv did the turn around on transfer of technology on Iron Dome after the New Delhi government shelved its earlier plans to seek Ballistic Missile Defense cover under the NATO Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) shield.”
Tel Aviv had made it known to New Delhi that Israel had been giving hi-tech technology to India and even investing in Indian research facilities with the aim of harnessing future business potential.
“As New Delhi had opted for taking shelter under the NATO BMD system, these investments could have achieved very little for Israel in terms of business and future partnership programs.” Tel Aviv had told New Delhi.
The United States has also pushed the case for David Sling and Iron Dome air defence systems with Tel Aviv even as the authorities in Washington are finding it difficult to transfer several technologies to India due to restrictions on transfer of technology. The Iron Dome and David Sling air defence systems will be in addition to the Prithvi indigenous anti-ballistic missile system(PAD), which has also been developed with the help of the Israelis who had initially made available the long range radar.
The first phase of PAD is completed and the systems are expected to be placed in New Delhi and other important locations. While the Indian PAD can detect the incoming missiles between 50 kilometers and 80 kilometers the PAD cannot intercept incoming cruise missiles at tree top height.
The David Sling is a joint effort between Rafael of Israel and Raytheon of United States.
Indian military wants David Sling and Iron Dome to protect against cruise missiles. David Sling is being favored by the Indian Air Force as an effective hit to kill interceptor against short range ballistic missiles, rockets, and cruise missiles.
New Delhi is also talking to Raytheon to seek necessary U.S. government permission to get full clearance for the sale of David Sling to India from Rafael of Israel.
In early 2009 India inked the largest Joint Venture defence project with Israel worth $ 2.2 billion under which India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in tie up with Israel Aerospace Industries [IAI] and Rafael of Israel will develop 70 kilometers range Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) program. The $2.2 billion order is for the Indian Air Force (IAF) though the systems would be sold to the Israeli defence forces as well.
The MRSAM system would be able to engage aircrafts, helicopters, missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs] and all types of airborne targets at maximum effective range of the missile.
Meanwhile Indian scientists at Defence research and Development Organization (DRDO) are developing a Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD)system which can kill an incoming missile from a distance of up to 5000 Kilometers. The new system being developed as part of PAD-phase two is also in advanced stages of development and the first test to kill an incoming missile from 5000 kilometers is likely to be completed by the end of the year.