Noting that that Russian-made S-400 Triumf missile system is one of the most advanced air defence system, Eastern Air Command Chief, Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiar on Friday said that India is also developing systems to defend itself from ballistic missiles of more capability.
“We will have this capability (S-400 Triumf missile system) to defeat any space base threat of a certain velocity as the velocity of space threat keep going higher and higher we will have to develop other systems. But our own nation is developing systems to defend ourselves from ballistic missiles of more capability,” he told a group of journalists at the North Eastern Council headquarters in Meghalaya.
He said the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is also developing Program AD ballistic missile system, which will be more capable in intercepting of an incoming targets.
“After Triumpf, it is going to be an Indian system (Program Air Defence) which will be more capable. It will not only intercept within our own atmosphere but outside our atmosphere as well.”
“We have tasted success. I was skeptical as anyone else but having seen the Program AD functions. I think it is just a matter of few minor glitches and other issues to be set right. We have a very capable air defence system and more importantly it is make in India system, which will be more cost effective, more widely available for us with little secrecy because everything will be known by us,” the Air Marshal said.
He said the S-400 Triumf capability, which will be in India’s possession in 23 months from now, is to is to defeat the air borne or space borne besides giving the ability to defend India very effectively right as low as 20 metres above the ground into the space.
India and Russia signed an agreement for the purchase of the missile system in 2016 .
On China’s stealth fighter jets, Nambiar who test flew the Rafale jet in France, said, “We believed we have the capability to defeat the Chinese with what we have at the moment. What happened in the future is another question. But today, we believed that we have the resources, the ability, the training and the ability to defeat at a particular level but tomorrow is another new day.”
Asked how potent the Indian Air Force in its airspace is, Nambiar said, “Our neighbourhood is a dangerous neighbourhood. We have nuclear armed neighhbours who have designs and claims on what we believed that it belongs to us and therefore it is a dangerous neighbourhood. So it is best to be well prepared and forewarned of any mischievous elements on any side.”
He added: “We believed we have deterrence today. We believed we have the strength, the capability, we have forces both in theaters as well as outside and with our flexibility reach up we deter war not only as an Indian Air Force but as the armed forces of India. We are all part of this huge apparatus. In 48 hours, I can go from 20 thousand to about 20 per cent of our assets and can build up to 80 per cent of our assets and that is the flexibility of the air power. I can push in from wherever it be. We have the resources, the wherewithal, and the capability.”
On China’s developing airfields in Tibet region, the Air Marshal said, “We are geographically bless. We have airfields which are at low altitude and almost at sea level. Most of our airfields are at 400 feet and therefore our aircraft can uplift lot of loads from our airfield.”
“Chinese airfield are at 3 Km or 4 Km or 5km altitude which significantly affects their performances and capability and all their airfields which are at low-level are farther away and not within easy access. Therefore, we have some geographical advantageous and geographical advantage that we enjoy,” he said.