Jaisalmer (Rajasthan): In a significant boost to India’s defence capabilities, the first deliverable firing unit of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) System was handed over to Indian Air Force (IAF) in the presence of Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh at Air Force Station here today.
The MRSAM’s IAF variant is an advanced network centric combat Air Defence System developed jointly by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in collaboration with the Indian industry comprising of private and public sectors including Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
DRDO Chairman and Department of Defence Research and Development Dr G. Satheesh Reddy handed over the first deliverable firing unit to Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal R. K. S. Bhadauria in the presence of Rajnath Singh. During the event, DRDO and IAI officials demonstrated the capabilities of MRSAM system, as part of On-Site Acceptance Test (OSAT).
In his address, Rajnath Singh lauded the joint efforts of DRDO, IAI, various inspection agencies, public and private industry partners in developing, what he termed, one of the best state-of-the-art missile systems in the world.
“With the handing over of MRSAM system to IAF, we have taken a giant leap towards achieving ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ as envisioned by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It will prove to be a game-changer in the air-defence-system,” he said.
The minister reiterated the government’s resolve to strengthen the security infrastructure of the country to deal with any challenges arising out of the rapidly changing global strategic scenario.
He stated that modernisation of the armed forces and building a self-reliant defence industry are being accorded top priority. Stressing on the need for a strong military, he said the government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure the security and overall development of the country.
He listed out the measures taken by the government, including setting up of Defence Industrial Corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu; corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board; notification of two positive indigenisation lists of over 200 items to increase exports and Transfer of Technology (ToT) by DRDO to the private sector. He expressed confidence that India will soon become self-reliant in defence manufacturing as well as a global manufacturing hub of defence systems.
Rajnath Singh reaffirmed the government’s commitment to bolster the technological base through indigenous research, design and development, with focus on ‘Make in India, ‘Make for the world’. He highlighted that close cooperation between technology partners and friendly countries has led to rapid progress towards realising this vision and development of MRSAM is a great example of such collaborative effort.
The Minister described the development of MRSAM system as a shining example of the close partnership between India and Israel, adding that handing over of the system to IAF has taken this decades-old friendship to greater heights. “It has played an important role in strengthening the defence industrial base of India and Israel, he added.
On the creation of new test facilities and infrastructure in the development of this programme, Rajnath Singh said it will be helpful in producing quality products for both the countries in the future. He termed the sub-systems being manufactured for this programme as a great example of synergy between Indian public and private sector companies.
On the occasion, the minister remembered former President of India Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, terming him a visionary who paved the way for self-reliance in defence sector, especially in the missile development programme.
He said around 30 years ago, Dr Kalam initiated the Integrated Missile Development Programme at a time when scientists were facing various restrictions in the field of technology. Despite all this, the minister said, the success of the programme not only ensured self-reliance in missile development, but also thwarted possibility of any cross-border threat.
The MRSAM system provides point and area air defence for ground assets against a wide range of threats including fighter aircraft, drones, helicopters, guided and unguided munitions, sub-sonic and supersonic cruise missiles.
It is capable of engaging multiple targets at ranges up to 70 kms in severe saturation scenarios. The missile is powered by indigenously developed rocket motor and control system for achieving high manoeuvrability during the terminal phase.
The firing unit comprises of Missiles, Combat Management System (CMS), Mobile Launcher Systems (MLS), Advanced Long Range Radar, Mobile Power System (MPS), Radar Power System (RPS), Reloader Vehicle (RV) and Field Service Vehicle (FSV).
Speaking on the occasion, Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria congratulated the efforts of the entire team of MRSAM IAF variant and stated that the system will bolster the air defence capabilities of the country. Dr Satheesh Reddy complimented the teams involved in the development of MRSAM System.
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief South-Western Air Command (SWAC) Air Marshal Sandeep Singh and IAI president and chief executive officer Boaz Levy were also present on the occasion.