India’s Defence Acquisition Council Approves Plans to Procure NASAMS-II Air Defence System from the U.S.

India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, has approved the acceptance of necessity (AoN) for the acquisition of NASAMS-II air defence system worth around $1 billion from the US.

The system will be used to defend the country’s National Capital Region (NCR) from aerial attacks.

NASAMS-II, short for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System-II, is an advanced air defence system developed by American defence major, Raytheon in partnership with Norway’s Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace and has been operational since 2007. It is an upgraded version of the NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System) air defense system.

The NASAMS system integrates U.S.-built AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel 3D air defense radar and AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile) missiles with a Kongsberg developed Battle management C4I system called FDC, short for Fire Distribution Center. The FDC connected to a MPQ-64 radar forms an “Acquisition Radar and Control System” (ARCS).

NASAMS was the first surface-based application for the AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile). The missile itself is named SLAMRAAM (Surfaced Launched AMRAAM) and has a horizontal range of up to 25 km.

The Sentinel radar is a highly mobile, three-dimensional, phased-array, ground-based air defense radar system that operates in the X-band region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The radar automatically detects, tracks, identifies, classifies and reports airborne threats, including helicopters, high-speed attack aircraft, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

A complete NASAMS 2 battery consists of 12 missile launchers (LCHR) (each one carrying six AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles), eight radars (AN/MPQ-64F1 Improved Sentinel X band 3D radar), one fire control centre (CTOC), one electro-optical camera vehicle (MSP500) and one Tactical Control Cell (TCC) vehicle.

NASAMS is highly adaptable mid-range solution for any operational air defence requirement and provides tailorable, state-of-the-art defence system that can maximise the ability to quickly identify, engage and destroy current and evolving enemy aircraft, UAV or emerging cruise missile threats.

NASAMS is owned by seven countries and has been integrated into the U.S.’ National Capital Region’s air defense system since 2005. In addition to the U.S., it is in service in Norway, Finland, Spain, The Netherlands and one undisclosed country. It is also currently in production for Oman.

India purchasing NASAMS-II system will help it prevent aerial attack on its capital, New Delhi and will complement other medium and long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems under procurement such as the Russian S-400 Triumf long range air defence systems.

Additionally, India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is currently in the final stages of developing an indigenous two-tier Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system consisting of two interceptor missiles, namely the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) missile for high altitude (exo-atmospheric) interception, and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) Missile for lower altitude (endo-atmospheric) interception.

The BMD shield includes an overlapping network of early warning and tracking radars, as well as command and control (C2) posts and should be able to intercept any incoming missile launched from 5,000 kilometres away. With the test of the PAD missile, India became the fourth country to have successfully developed an anti-ballistic missile system, after United States, Russia, and Israel.

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