India’s Defence Acquisition Council approved the procurement of the Very Short Range Air Défense System (VSHORADS) missile system which was developed by the county’s defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
The acquisition is one park of a larger weapon package worth Rs4,276 crore for the Army and Navy. The VSHORADS buy will replace the Russian Igla-M man portable missiles following the failure of talks which would have seen the purchase of the more advanced Igla-S. The VSHORADS decision is also consistent with the government’s emphasis on atmanirbharta (self-dependance) in defence systems.
VSHORADS was indigenously designed to address low altitude aerial threats at short ranges and to be man carried and operated. The system uses a dual thrust solid propellent motor, infrared homing seeker, a miniaturized Reaction Control System (RCS) to aid its manoeuvrability, and uses Advanced Man-portable Digital Link). DRDO successfully proved the systems capabilities in a series of tests conducted in 2022. It is speculated that the system has day/night capability with a range of 6-7 km and uses a dual-band IR seeker and may use multi-spectral optronic target acquisition and tracking.
It is understood that the Army intends to employ the system to fill what it views as a critical capability gap especially in the eastern and northern border areas of the country. Being man portable and capable of independent as well as networked employment is would be well suited to offering protection against aerial threats in the mountains and high valleys of the Line of Contact with the Peoples Liberation Army.
by Stephen W. Miller