The Indian Navy has successfully tested its Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) capability by firing it from INS Visakhapatnam. This achievement validates the Indian Navy’s ability to engage anti-ship missiles and reaffirms its commitment to becoming self-reliant in defence manufacturing.
The MRSAM is a joint venture between the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) developed at Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). The missile is also known as the ‘Abhra’ Weapon System, and it is a state-of-the-art medium-range air defence weapon system. It has been developed with active participation from Indian public and private defence industry partners, including MSMEs.
The MRSAM is a supersonic missile that can be launched vertically with a rapid response time, with different variations for use by the Army, Navy, and Air Force. It is intended to intercept various airborne threats such as guided bombs, aircraft, missiles, and helicopters. It weighs 275 kg and possesses a range of 70 km, a length of 4500 mm, dual guidance (command and active radar seeker), TVC and Aerodynamic control, and dual pulse propulsion with a solid motor.
In February 2009, a contract was signed for the MRSAM program, with the Indian Air Force (IAF) agreeing to purchase 450 MRSAMs and 18 firing units for over $2bn. IAI and DRDO carried out three flight tests of the MRSAM weapon system in July 2016 to validate all missile components at the Integrated Test Range off the Odisha Coast, India.
In January 2019, IAI agreed to a $93m contract with the Indian Navy and Cochin Shipyard to provide maintenance and other services for various MRSAM sub-systems, with the Indian Navy successfully test-firing LRSAM from INS Chennai in January 2019. In December, Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems Pvt Ltd (KRAS) produced and released the 100th MRSAM Kit for the Indian Armed Forces. This milestone reflects the progress made by the Indian defence industry towards indigenization, as highlighted by Lt Gen RP Kalita, GOC-in-C of the Eastern Command, during his visit to the MRSAM Regiment in February.
The successful testing of the MRSAM capability by the Indian Navy demonstrates the country’s increasing self-reliance in defence manufacturing. It is also a testament to the strong partnership between DRDO and IAI, which has resulted in the development of a state-of-the-art air defence system for India’s armed forces. With ongoing efforts towards indigenization, India is likely to achieve greater self-sufficiency in defence manufacturing in the future.
India has been investing significantly in the modernization of its defence capabilities, and the development of the MRSAM is a crucial step in this direction. The missile system is an integral part of India’s air defence system, and its successful testing by the Indian Navy adds another layer of security to India’s maritime borders.
The MRSAM has been developed under the aegis of the ‘Make in India’ initiative, which aims to transform India into a global manufacturing hub. The successful development and testing of the MRSAM is a testimony to the success of this initiative, which has been driving India’s efforts towards indigenization in defence manufacturing.
India’s focus on indigenization and self-reliance in defence manufacturing is crucial for its strategic autonomy and security. The country has been working towards reducing its dependence on imports of defence equipment and technology, and the development of the MRSAM is a significant step towards achieving this goal.
The successful testing of the MRSAM by the Indian Navy is a significant achievement and a testament to India’s growing defence capabilities. With continued investments in defence research and development and a focus on indigenization, India is well on its way to becoming a self-sufficient defence manufacturing hub, capable of meeting the country’s defence needs while also becoming a net exporter of defence equipment and technology.