India is working on a mega plan to make the airspace over almost all its major cities, including Delhi and Mumbai, virtually impregnable, sources in the military establishment said.
The government is procuring a variation of systems, including missiles, launchers and command-and-control units from the US, Russia and Israel, besides deploying indigenously developed missiles as part of the project, they said.
In the last few years, China has significantly ramped up its air power and the sources said that the government was calculated to equip the forces with capabilities on par with its adversaries.
“Over the national capital and many other cities are being strengthened considering the evolving security scenario. Procurement of missile systems, and weaponry is part of the initiative,” a senior military official said.
India is engaged in talks with the US for procuring components of systems, including missiles, and drones, and the US has already approved sale of 22 Sea Guardian to India at an estimated cost of USD 2 billion.
It is for the first time, the US is selling them to a country which is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The sources said India is also gazing at the US’ National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II to bolster its own defence.
India is also procuring the S-400 Triumf Air Defence System from Russia at a cost of $5.4 billion to accelerate its gizmo. Deliveries will begin as early as 2020.
“The aim of the project is to make our skyline impregnable,” the official said.
As part of efforts to strengthen the country’s aerial security, India is also in the process of inducting the first batch of its offensive Intercontinental Ballistic Missile System — Agni V — which is expected to significantly bolster India’s 2nd strike capability against China. The missile, with a strike range of 5,000 km, is capable of delivering a nuclear payload to every city in China.
Very few countries, including the US, China, Russia, France and North Korea, possesses intercontinental ballistic missiles.
In its offensive missile armory, India presently has Agni-1 with a 700 km range, Agni-2 with a 2,000-km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2,500 km to more than 3,500-km range.
In November last, India successfully test fired air-launched variant of the Brahmos, the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile, from a Sukhoi-30 combat jet. The missile will be also be part of the project to make the country’s airspace impregnable, the sources said.
The Defence Ministry is now expediting the process to integrate the deadly Brahmos with 40 Su-30 MKI Fighter Jets.