India’s Defence Acquisition Council approved “acceptance of necessity” for acquisition of National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II) worth around $1 billion from the US, according to unspecified sources referred by the Indian Times.
At the same time, as part of the Delhi Area Air Defence Plan, efforts are being made to further realign the “VIP-89 area” over New Delhi, which includes Rashtrapati Bhawan, Parliament, North and South Blocks. The plan also aims to shorten the decision-making loop to shoot down planes that may have been hijacked or commandeered for use as “missiles against strategic targets,” the source claims.
India’s bid to acquire NASAMS-II comes as The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is in the final stages of developing its two-tier ballistic missile defence (BMD) shield, which is designed to track and destroy nuclear missiles both inside and outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. The unnamed source has said “Once the Phase-I of the BMD system is operational, it will be deployed to protect cities like Delhi and Mumbai from long-range missiles with a 2,000 km strike range. The NASAMS, in turn, is geared towards intercepting cruise missiles, aircraft and drones.”
The NASAMS-II is armed with three-dimensional Sentinel radars, short and medium-range missiles, launchers, fire-distribution centers and command-and-control units to quickly detect, track and shoot down multiple airborne threats.
The Indian defence ministry also has a $2 billion procurement of 24 MH-60 “Romeo” helicopters, with their associated weapons, spares and training packages from the US pending until the inaugural dialogue on September 6th of this year.
India wants to discuss the punitive sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) which targets countries that purchase Russian weapons or Iranian Oil. As reported by the Indian Times, the US is moving towards granting a waiver from CAATSA to India. India is under threat of sanctions for their wish to sign a deal Rs 39,000 crore (about $5.6 billion) with Russia for five S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems from Russia.
According to the Indian Times, the Indian Navy also wishes to acquire multi-role helicopters, armed with radars and sonars as well as missiles, torpedoes and depth charges, because it has no such hardware left. The 140-warship force has about 12 old Sea King and 10 Kamov-28 anti-submarine warfare helicopters. Admiral Sunil Lanba, in a lecture on Friday, said “The Navy is staring at critical capability gaps with respect to minesweepers, integral multi-role and utility helicopters and conventional submarines. The long-term “Make in India” project includes the Navy acquiring 123 multi-role helicopters and 111 light utility choppers.
To reinforce India’s policy to supply weapons from different countries, in May 2018, India’s Ministry of Defense issued a Request for Proposal to Russian Helicopters for the procurement of 200 Kamov Ka-226T helicopters.
Furthermore, the Indian Ministry of Defense, on July 25th, was reported to be in the finishing stages of negotiations with Russia to bring 48 additional Mi-17-V5 military transport/utility helicopters under its control.
Furthermore, the Economic Times reported that India is one of Russia’s largest operators of Russian equipment. Russian Helicopters has so far supplied 110 units of the Mi-4, 128 units of the Mi-8 and about 160 units of the Mi-17 type.