Defense sources told Sputnik delivery of Russian Aerostats radar is expected to start in a few months and will be fitted with Israeli EL/M-2083 early-warning radars. India will replace its age-old air defense system at six air bases and some other critical locations along western border with SPYDER, which will replace Soviet-era OSA-AKM and ZRK-BD Strela-10M.
“The EL/M 2083 will provide elevated view with the Russian Aerostats, thus enhancing the range for scanning threats. This will be linked to the SPYDER SR through the command center providing early warning thus facilitating Lock on Before Launch (LOBL) for the missile,” says Brigadier Rahul Bhonsle, a retired Indian Army brigadier and defense analyst.
India has also deployed its indigenous 25-km range surface-to-air missile Akash along Pakistan border. However, little larger reaction time and less than 360 degrees coverage of Akash makes it less suitable for employment in the tactical battle areas.
“The SPYDER SR system is a generation and a half ahead of the OSA and Strela which were essentially designed four decades ago. The SPYDER SR will provide a high degree of assurance in terms of air as well missile defense cover with a LOBL and Lock On After Launch, thus the reaction time will be much faster with high hit probability,” Bhonsle said.
India had inked an $1.2 billion contract with the Israeli company in 2008-09 for the supply of 90 launchers. SPYDER incorporates RAFAEL's most advanced, air-to-air missiles: the I-Derby active radar (RF) missile and Python-5, a dual waveband Imaging Infra-Red (IIR) missile. Slant-launch SPYDER SR has 20-km intercept range.
“The SPYDER is a much more modern and resilient system. Along with the Aerostats, it will substantially enhance the air defense cover available to ground formations,” Gurmeet Kanwal, distinguished fellow at the Delhi-based Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses.
Delivery of the SPYDER has been delayed for more than five years as Indian armed forces decides to use high-mobility trucks made by Indian truck maker TATA.