India and Israel might soon start building a Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) system for the Indian Army in a bid to replace Russian-made air defense systems. "The Army has urgent requirement for one regiment (18 systems) of MRSAMs at worth of $1.5 billion, but the total requirement for these systems is about $6 billion," an Indian Army official was quoted.
The land version of MRSAM that has a range of up to 70 kilometers, is an extension of the ongoing Air Force MRSAM project, which is expected to begin induction by 2017 that is three years behind scheduled.
The Army mobile MRSAM systems will be produced together by India's defense research agency, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), and Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) of Israel.
Both sides will develop subsystems. The system will be produced by India's Bharat Dynamics, in participation with domestic private sector companies Tata Power SED and Larsen & Toubro, the source added.
MRSAM is useful for army to defend mechanized formations operating in the plains and desert regions of the country. First delivery is now expected by 2017.
Both the nations have jointly developed Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) and have successfully tested it in 2014.
An Indian Army official said the service has needed a new surface-to-air missile system for more than a decade to replace Russian-made Kvadrat, SA-3B, and OSA-AKM systems bought between 1970 and 1980.