The 9K338 Igla-S man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) offered by Russia’s Rosoboronexport has been declared as the lowest bidder (L1) for the Indian Army’s Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) requirement.
The other contenders for the multi-billion dollar deal were Saab (Sweden) with its RBS 70 NG MANPADS and MBDA (France) with its Mistral MANPADS.
9K338 Igla-S (NATO reporting name: SA-24 Grinch) is the latest variant of the Soviet 9K38 Igla “needle” (NATO reporting name: SA-18 Grouse) man-portable infrared homing short-range air-defense system. It comprises of the 9M342 surface-to-air missile (SAM) and the 9P522 launching mechanism.
The Igla-S system is designed to engage all types of visually observable aircraft and helicopters as well as cruise missiles and unmanned air vehicles and is able to engage targets at night.
Igla-S is a substantially improved variant compared to the older Igla variants with longer range, more sensitive seeker, improved resistance to latest countermeasures, and a heavier warhead. It has an engagement altitude of 10-3500 m and a maximum engagement range of 6000 m. The manufacturer of the system claims a hit probability of 0.8–0.9.
The Igla-S entered the Russian service in 2004 and is being supplemented by the fourth-generation 9K333 Verba “Willow” MANPADS since 2014.
Last month, India concluded a $5.43 billion deal with Russia to procure five regiments of S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) advanced long-range air defense systems.