Firepower for Indian Army: Russia may raise self-propelled air defence gun missile system deal with Rajnath Singh

Next week, Russia is expected to raise the Self Propelled Air Defence Gun Missile System (SPAD-GMS) project with defence Minister Rajnath Singh next week in Moscow.

According to sources, Russia is expected to raise this on the sidelines of the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) meeting.

Speaking on condition of anonymity a top official confirmed that during the meeting with Singh, the Russian officials will urge the Indian side to re-consider its decision to sign the deal with Hanwha Defense Systems of South Korea.

A very senior Indian Army confirmed that both the upgraded Tunguska system fielded by Almaz Ante and Pantsir by KBP Tula systems were not fully compliant during the trials. The South Korean company was the only one to qualify for the approximately $ 2.5 billion gun and missile system programme.

Though the contract with the South Korean company has yet to be inked, several representations have been made to the Ministry of Defence pointing out concerns related to the Hanwha’s system.

“There a few issues relating to not only the 2 D Doppler Radar offered but also the fact that the Hanwha’s K-30 Biho (Flying Tiger) twin 30mm short-range, mobile self-propelled anti-aircraft system, is outdated and a generation old,” explained a source.

The RFP had specified that the gun system should be controlled by the radar and be capable to pick up small objects like small drones.

“The Russian Pantsir fielded by KBP Tula systems, is new generation and comes equipped with 3 D radar with the capability of picking up small objects including drones. However, it has failed the 30-degree gradient test,” a senior officer explained.

Last year at the IRIGC-MTC meeting in New Delhi, the visiting Russia Defence Minister Gen Sergei Shoigu had expressed his displeasure about the upgraded Tunguska system and Pantsir being out of the programme.

In response to the 2013 global tender, Indian Army had shortlisted three companies — South Korean Hanwha Defense Systems, which had offered the Hybrid Biho system, and Russian companies Almaz Ante’s upgraded Tunguska system, and KBP Tula’s Pantsir system.

What is the Indian Army looking for?

It is looking for both gun and missiles which are either mounted on one or separate high mobility vehicles.

One of the most critical requirements specified by the end-user is that the gun, as well as the missile, should be able to engage aerial targets both with and without the fire control radar.

It should be capable of doing so independently or simultaneously.

The Indian Army will procure five regiments –which will have 104 systems, of gun missiles systems, including 4,928 missiles and 172,260 rounds of ammunition.

Under contract company will ensure full maintenance technology transfer for missiles to state-owned Ordnance Factory Board.

There should be day and night camera functionality, with a built-in simulator. The gun should engage a target at 350 rounds per second, and the missile should have a range of five kilometres.