Spanish NASAMS (Image: Wikimedia Commons/Outisnn)
India is moving to acquire the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II) from the US to be used along with indigenous, Israeli and Russian systems to build a multi-tiered missile shield over Delhi, according to a report in The Times of India.
The shield is aimed at defending the National Capital Territory (NCT) against threats such as ballistic missiles.
According to the report citing defence ministry sources, the US is likely to send the final draft of the ‘letter of acceptance’ for the sale of NASAMS-II to India under its foreign military sales programme. The purchase will come at a cost of over Rs 6,000 crore, the report adds.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.
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Besides the US, Chile, Finland, Netherlands, Norway and Spain have also acquired some variant of NASAMS.
The air defence shield
The innermost layer of the air defence shield will consist of the NASAMS system that will include a combination of weapons such as Stinger surface-to-air missiles, gun systems and AIM-120C-7 AMRAAMs (advanced medium-range air-to-air missile).
The Akash area defence missile systems will form the tier over the NASAMS.
The next layer will have the Russian S-400 Triumf systems. This will be followed by the Barak-8 medium-range surface-to-air missile systems, jointly developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Israeli Aerospace Industries.
The outermost layer of the missile shield will consist of DRDO’s advanced air defence (ADO) and Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) interceptor missiles.
The development comes at a time when the US is said to be pressurising India to drop the S-400 Triumf deal with Russia. The US is also reportedly pushing India to purchase US interceptors, missiles, armed drones and possibly offering F-35 fighter jets.
The S-400 is considered as the most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system. China too had purchased the S-400 missile system from Russia in 2014.
The S-400 Triumf system is expected to be delivered to India in the October 2020-April 2023 timeline. India had signed the deal with Russia in October 2018.