Russia’s state arms export agency Rosoboronexport, announced the formalization of a contract for the supply and licensed production of Russia’s advanced Igla-S man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) to India.
Chief Executive Officer of Rosoboronexport Alexander Mikheev confirmed this to Russian government-owned TASS News Agency at the Dubai Airshow 2023. Mikheev stated, "A respective document has already been signed, and now, together with a private sector Indian company, we will organize the production of Igla-S MANPADS on Indian territory."
This strategic partnership aligns with India's broader defense modernization efforts and aims to enhance its Very Short-Range Air Defense (VSHORAD) capabilities.
The procurement of Russia's Igla-S MANPADS by India was initially reported by media outlets in November 2018. According to sources, the deal is estimated to be valued at up to $1.5 billion. Under the VSHORAD program, India plans to retire outdated Soviet-Russian Igla systems and replace them with the Igla-S MANPADS. The comprehensive agreement encompasses the acquisition of 5,175 missiles and launchers, with the understanding that various versions of these systems will be exclusively supplied by Russia.
As part of the collaboration, 600 missiles are slated to be produced at the Indian state enterprise Bharat Dynamics Ltd.
Implementing the "fire-and-forget" principle, Igla-S ensures high survivability and stealth during combat operations. Its versatility is a notable feature, enabling missile launches through various platforms, including the launching mechanism, "Dzhigit" support launcher, "Strelets" set of equipment and launch modules for use with different mobile carriers, "Komar" turret installation, and the "Gibka-S" combat vehicle designed for the MANPADS squad.
The "Igla-S" is specifically designed to engage a wide range of visible fixed- and rotary-winged aircraft in head-on and pursuit courses, as well as small-sized air targets like cruise missiles. This capability extends to all hours of the day and operates effectively under thermal and background noise conditions.
The main characteristics of the "Igla-S" include a range of 500 to 6000 meters, an altitude capability of 10 to 3500 meters, and the ability to engage targets with speeds of up to 400 meters per second in both head-on and pursuit courses.
The system can become ready for operation within 12 seconds upon receiving a signal while on the move, and the missile can be launched just 5 seconds after activation. The missile itself features tracing, passive, and an infrared bi-spectral seeker, showcasing advanced technology for precise target tracking.