air defence system
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  • Ground-based air defence systems play a crucial role in a country’s defence. These are the goalkeepers of the skies. The Indian air force is right now struggling to maintain its squadron strength. In such a scenario the role of air defence systems becomes very important. In this article, we are going to look at the various types of air defence systems India operates.
  • India is currently developing multi-layer air defence system. Multi-layer air defence system would ensure successful interception of incoming areal threats. India’s multi-layer air defence system would consist of four layers as mentioned below.

Components of Air Defence

  1. Long Range interception: Indian Ballistic Missile Defence Programme
  2. Intermediate Interception: S-400 Triumph (future induction)
  3. Short Range interception: Akash Air Defense System and Similar Systems
  4. Very Short-range interception: MANPADS and Anti- Aircraft Guns.

Indian Ballistic Missile Defence Programme

The Indian Ballistic Missile Defence Program is an initiative to develop and deploy a multi-layered ballistic missile defence system to protect India from ballistic missile attacks. Introduced in light of the ballistic missile threat from Pakistan, and China, it is a double-tiered system consisting of two land and sea-based interceptor missiles, namely the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) missile for high altitude interception, and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) Missile for lower altitude interception. The two-tiered shield should be able to intercept any incoming missile launched from 5,000 kilometres away. The system also includes an overlapping network of early warning and tracking radars, as well as command and control posts.

Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) missile

The Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) is an anti-ballistic missile developed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere (exo-atmospheric).

It has an operational range of 300 km -2000 km. It has maximum interception altitude of 80 km. it is designed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles in their intermediate cruising phase. With a maximum speed over Mach 5, PAD is fast enough to hit intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

It is a two-stage missile. The first stage is a Solid fuelled motor while the second stage is Liquid fuelled. It has manoeuvre thrusters which can generate a lateral acceleration of more than 5 gs at 50 km (31 mi) altitude. Guidance is provided by an inertial navigation system with mid-course updates from LRTR and active radar homing in the terminal phase.LRTR is the target acquisition and fire control radar for the PAD missile. It is an active phased array radar having the capability to track 200 targets at a range of 600 km

The first test was conducted in 2006  in which a PAD missile successfully intercepted a modified Prithvi-II Missile at an altitude of 50 km (31 mi). The Prithvi-II ballistic missile was modified successfully to mimic the trajectory of M-11 missiles.

Advanced Air Defence (AAD) Missile

Advanced Air Defence (AAD) is an anti-ballistic missile designed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles in the endo-atmosphere at an altitude of 30 km (19 mi). It is for those targets which somehow get passed through PAD. It is a secondary layer which compliments PAD.

AAD has an operational range of 150 km to 200 km. It has a maximum speed of Mach 4.5. AAD is a single-stage, solid-fuelled missile with siliconised carbon jet vanes. Guidance is similar to that of PAD with indigenous radio frequency seeker. It supports the inertial navigation system (INS), mid-course updates from ground-based radar and active radar homing in the terminal phase.

Short Range interception (less than 100 km)

Indian Army and Indian Air force operates a variety of systems in this segment. These mainly include Surface to Air Missiles (SAM) like Akash SAM, S-125 pechora, Spyder Air defense system etc

S-125 Pechora

S-125 Pechora is a surface to air missile system of Soviet origin. For a very long time, this system has been the backbone of Indian Air Force’s Air defence. This system is 60 years old as it was first inducted into service by the Soviet Union in 1961. This system has participated in almost every modern conflict. It has countless kills against various adversaries. IAF operates 25 squadrons of Pechora.

Designer Almaz Central Design Bureau
Maximum Speed 3 to 3.5 Mach
Maximum Target Altitude less than 20 km
Operational Range 30 km
strength 25 squadrons

“If the enemy is in range, so are you”

Infantry journal

Akash Air Defence System

Akash is a medium-range mobile surface-to-air missile defence system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the missiles produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited.

The missile system can target aircraft up to 45 km away, at altitudes up to 18,000 m. It has the capability to neutralize aerial targets like fighter jets, cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles as well as ballistic missiles.

An Akash battery comprises a single Rajendra 3D passive electronically scanned array radar and four launchers with three missiles each, all of which are interlinked. Each battery can track up to 64 targets and attack up to 12 of them.

War head 60 Kg Pre-fragmented High Explosive War Head
Propulsion Solid booster and integral rocket/ramjet sustainer motor
Operational Range 45 km
maximum Speed Mach 3.5
Guidance system Mid-course: Command guidance with datalink
Terminal: Active radar homing
Launch platform T-72 or BMP-2 chassis or Tata Motors Heavy Mobility Trucks

Indian Air force operates 8 squadrons of Akash air defense system. Indian Amy operates 2 regiments of it. Army has also placed order for 2 more regiments. read more about akash air defense system here.


The SPYDER (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby) is an Israeli short and medium-range mobile air defence system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems with assistance from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

The SPYDER is a low-level, quick-reaction surface-to-air missile system capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vehicles, drones, and precision-guided munitions. It provides air defence for fixed assets and for point and area defence for mobile forces in combat areas.

The SPYDER launcher is designed to fire Python-5 and Derby surface-to-air missiles which share full commonality with the air-to-air missiles. There are two variants of the SPYDER: the SPYDER-SR (short range) and the SPYDER-MR (medium range). Both systems are quick reaction, all weather, network-centric, multi-launchers, and self-propelled.

A typical battery consists of one central command and control unit, six missile firing units, and a resupply vehicle. The SPYDER-SR uses the EL/M-2106 ATAR radar while the SPYDER-MR incorporates the EL/M-2084 MMR radar. The latter is the same radar used by the Iron Dome system currently in service with the Israel Defense Forces.

IAF currently operates a single squadron of SPYDER and has placed order for 4 more squadrons.

Warhead 11 kg (24 lb) (Python-5)
23 kg (51 lb) (Derby)
×4 Python-5 or Derby missiles in any combination per MFU
Python-5:20 km (12 mi)
Derby:50 km (31 mi)
Flight altitude Python-5:9,000 m (30,000 ft)
Derby:16,000 m (52,000 ft)
Maximum speed Mach 4
Infrared homing and electro-optical imaging (Python-5)
Active radar homing (Derby)

9K33 Osa AK

The 9K33 Osa is a highly mobile, low-altitude, short-range tactical surface-to-air missile system designed in the Soviet Union.

Osa was the first mobile air defence missile system incorporating its own engagement radars on a single vehicle. All versions of the 9K33 feature all-in-one 9A33 transporter-launcher and radar vehicles which can detect, track and engage aircraft independently or with the aid of regimental surveillance radars. The six-wheeled transport vehicles BAZ-5937 are fully amphibious and air transportable. The road range is about 500 km.

Mass 17.5 tonnes
Crew 5 soldiers
Main armament 6 9M33, 9M33M1, 9M33M2 or 9M33M3 missiles
Engine D20K300 diesel
Ground clearance 400 mm
Operational range 15 to 18 km
Maximum speed 80 km/h, 8 km/h (swimming)


The Osa Ak system used by IAF carries 6 9M33M3 missiles. these missiles have an approximate range of 15 km and maximum speed of mach 3.


  • 1S51M3 (“Land Roll”) – C band target acquisition radar, H band conical scan target tracking radar and two J band pulse mode fire control radars (range 35 km/22 miles for acquisition, 30 km/19 miles for tracking and 25 km/16 miles for guidance). Mounted on the TELAR.

External radars

  • P-40 (“Long Track”) – E band early warning radar (range 175 km/108 miles), mounted on a tracked vehicle
  • P-15 – 380 kW C band target acquisition radar (range 250 km/155 miles), mounted on a ZiL-131 truck.
  • PRV-9 – E band height finding radar ( range 240 km/148 miles), mounted on a KrAZ-255B truck.

2K12 Kub

The 2K12 “Kub”  mobile surface-to-air missile system is a Soviet low to medium-level air defence system designed to protect ground forces from air attack.

Each 2K12 battery consists of a number of similar tracked vehicles, one of which carries the 1S91 25 kW G/H band radar (with a range of 75 km) equipped with a continuous wave illuminator, in addition to an optical sight. The battery usually also includes four triple-missile transporter erector launchers (TELs), and four trucks, each carrying three spare missiles and a crane. The TEL is based on a GM-578 chassis, while the 1S91 radar vehicle is based on a GM-568 chassis, all developed and produced by MMZ.

Name 3M9 ( missile fired from Klub)
Mass 599 kg
Warhead Frag-HE 59 kg
Detonation mechanism Contact and proximity
Propellant integral rocket motor/ramjet booster and sustainer motor
Operational range 24 kilometres (15 mi)
Flight altitude Max. 14,000 metres (46,000 ft)
Min. 100 metres (330 ft)
Maximum speed Mach 2.8
Guidance system semi-active radar homing
Launch platform 2P25 TEL

Barak 8 “LRSAM”

Barak 8 also known as LR-SAM or as MR-SAM is an Indo-Israeli surface-to-air missile (SAM), designed to defend against any type of airborne threat including aircraft, helicopters, anti-ship missiles, and UAVs as well as ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and combat jets.

Barak 8 was jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), India’s Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), Israel’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, Elta Systems, Rafael and other companies. Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) produces the missiles.

Engine Two-stage, smokeless pulsed rocket motor
0.5–100 km
Flight ceiling 16 km
Maximum speed Mach 2
Two-way data link Active /IIR seeker
8 cell VLS module, 8 cell, double stacked land launcher

Key Features

  • Long Range
  • Two-way data link (GPS S-band)
  • Active Radar Seeker Missile
  • 360-degree coverage
  • Smokeless propulsion
  • Thrust vector control
  • Dual pulse propulsion
  • Vertical Launch
  • Multiple Simultaneous Engagements
  • Point defence anti-ballistic missile

All the three services Indian army, Indian Air Force and Indian navy uses Barak 8. Recently this system was also deployed in Ladakh to Counter china.

Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QRSAM)

Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QRSAM) is a missile developed by the DRDO in association with Bharat Electronics Limited and Bharat Dynamics Limited for the Indian Army.

This missile is an all-weather, all-terrain SAM equipped with electronic countermeasures against jamming by aircraft radars. The missile can be mounted on a truck and is stored in a canister. QRSAM uses solid-fuel propellant and has a range of 25–30 km. The single-staged missile uses solid propellants for propulsion. The missile is equipped with a midcourse inertial navigation system with a two-way data link and a DRDO-developed terminal active seeker. The system has the capability to search and track targets while moving

QRSAM is a compact weapon system and is mobile. It has a fully automated Command and Control System. The missile system comprises two four-walled radars both of which encompass a 360-degree coverage, namely, the Active Array Battery Surveillance Radar and the Active Array Battery Multifunction Radar, apart from the launcher.

Propellant Solid fuel
Operational range Missile: 3 km (1.9 mi) – 30 km (19 mi)
Flight altitude 30 m (98 ft) – 6 km (3.7 mi)
Maximum speed 4.7 Mach
Guidance system Mid-course: Inertial navigation system with two way datalink
Terminal: Active radar homing
Transport BEML-Tatra T815 8WD

Recently indian Army has deployed QRSAM in Ladakh to counter china


The SA-5 Gammon (Russian name S-200 Angara/Vega) is a low- to high-altitude very long-range surface-to-air missile system designed to defend large areas from bomber attack or other strategic aircraft. Initial deployment of an S-200 trials unit using the original 5V21 missile took place from 1963 to 1964 on the outskirts of Tallinn in Estonia. The first operational regiments were deployed in 1966 with 18 sites and 342 launchers in service by the end of the year.

In 1989, India purchased two S-200 Angara systems and 24 5V21 missiles from the Soviet Union. Today, the S-200 augments India’s lower altitude air defences as the country pursues more advanced ballistic missile defence capabilities, such as its Prithvi Air Defense (PAD) and Advanced Air Defense (AAD) missile interceptors. According to some unconfirmed sources, this system was retired in 2015.

Mass 7,100 kg (15,700 lb)
Warhead 217 kg Frag-HE
Detonation mechanism proximity and command fusing
Propellant dual-thrust liquid-fueled rocket motor
Operational range 300 kilometres (190 mi)
Flight altitude 40,000 metres (130,000 ft)
Boost time 4 solid-fueled strap-on rocket boosters
Maximum speed Mach 4 (4,900 km/h; 3,045 mph)[6]
Guidance system semi-active radar homing seeker head

Very Short Range interception (less than 10km)

These defences are the last-ditch weapon against any incoming areal threat. IAF and Indian army uses anti-aircraft guns and MAN Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS).

9K35 Strela-10

The 9K35 Strela-10 is a highly mobile, visually aimed, optical/infrared-guided, low-altitude, short-range surface-to-air missile system. The Strela-10 system was originally designed to use the 9M37 missile as its primary weapon.

Each 9M37 missile is 2.2 m long, weighs 40 kg and carries a 3.5 kg warhead. The maximum speed of the missile is near Mach 2, engagement range is from 5000 m (0.3–3 miles) and engagement altitude is between 10 and 3500 m. Four missiles are mounted on the turret in boxes, ready to launch, and eight more are carried inside the vehicle as reloads. Reloading takes around 3 minutes.

Mass 41 kg
Warhead 5 kg Frag-HE
Detonation mechanism contact and laser proximity fuzes
Propellant single-stage solid-propellant rocket motor
Operational range 5 kilometres (3.1 mi)
Flight altitude 3,500 metres (11,500 ft)
Maximum speed 550 m/s
Guidance system dual-mode passive ‘photocontrast’/IR seeker

2K22 Tunguska

The 2K22 Tunguska is a Russian tracked self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon armed with a surface-to-air gun and missile system. It is designed to provide day and night protection for infantry and tank regiments against low-flying aircraft, helicopters, and cruise missiles in all weather conditions.

Mass about 35,000 kg (77,000 lb)
Crew 4 (vehicle commander, driver, gunner, radar operator)
Armour protects the vehicle from 7.62 mm small arms fire and shell splinters
8 × 9M311, 9M311K, 9M311-1, 9M311M, 9M311-M1 or 57E6 missiles
2 × 30 mm 2А38M  guns (1,904 rounds carried)
range of Vehicle
500 km (310 mi)
Maximum speed of vehicle 65 km/h (40 mph) maximum on the road

ZSU-23-4 Shilka

The ZSU-23-4 “Shilka” is a lightly armoured Soviet self-propelled, radar-guided anti-aircraft weapon system. These are used by the Indian Army in limited numbers.

The main armaments are 4 × 23 mm 2A7 autocannons (AZP-23 “Amur” quad automatic anti-aircraft gun), ammunition 2,000 rounds.


The ZU-23-2, also known as ZU-23, is a Soviet towed 23 mm anti-aircraft twin-barreled autocannon

Shell 23x152B
Caliber 23 mm
Barrels 2
Action Gas operated
Elevation −10° to +90°
Traverse 360°
Rate of fire 2000 rpm cyclic, 400 rpm practical
Effective firing range 2.5 km (2 mi) effective range

Bofors 40 mm gun

The Bofors 40 mm gun, often referred to simply as the Bofors gun, is an anti-aircraft autocannon designed in the 1930s by the Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors.A small number of these weapons are still in service with the indian army.

Shell 40×365 mm R
Shell weight 0.9 kg
Calibre 40 mm
Carriage 522 kg
Elevation −20°/+80° (57°/s)
Traverse Full 360°, 92°/s
Rate of fire 240-330 round/min
Muzzle velocity 1,021 m/s
Maximum firing range 12,500 m

KPV heavy machine gun

In the post-World War 2 period, Soviet forces inducted a new heavy machine gun known as KPV-14.5 (Krupnokaliberniy Pulemyot Vladimirova). The weapon was in development as far back as 1944 and chambered for fire the same massive 14.5×114 mm cartridge used by the Degtyaryov PTRD Anti-Tank Rifles (ATRs). Since its introduction in 1949, the KPV has gone on to see fielding as a vehicle-mounted/coaxial machine gun, dedicated Anti-Aircraft (AA) gun, and naval/watercraft machine gun.

This gun is locally manufactured by the Ordinance Factory Board Trichy and is used as dedicated AA gun. These guns are used on quadruple Gun Mounts.

Cartridge 14.5×114 mm
Calibre 14.5 mm
Action Short recoil operation
Rate of fire 600 rpm
Muzzle velocity 1,005 m/s (3,297 ft/s)
Effective firing range 3000m
Maximum firing range 4000m
Feed system 40-round belt
Sights iron or optical

AZP S-60

The AZP S-60 is a towed single barrel 57 mm anti-aircraft gun of Soviet origin. It was designed just after World War 2 to replace the older models. It was also known as the S-60. It can be used as a standalone weapon or used in conjunction with fire control and radar. During several wars, it proved to be a potent weapon system.

Shell Fixed QF 57×348mmSR
Caliber 57mm (2.24 in)
Action Recoil operated
Carriage Four wheels with outriggers
Elevation −4° to +85°
Traverse 360°
Rate of fire 105–120 rpm (cyclic)
70 rpm (sustained)
Muzzle velocity 1,000 m/s (3,281 ft/s)
Effective firing range 6,000 m (20,000 ft) (radar guided)
4,000 m (13,000 ft) (optically guided)


Indian Army, Air force and Navy use 9K38 Igla-s as the primary MAN Portable Air Defence System. however army also uses Stinger missiles in limited numbers.

9K38 Igla-S

It is the primary MANPADS of all the three services used in large numbers. It is Soviet equivalent of Stinger Missile. Indian Army is currently procuring fresh lots of Igla-S from Russia.

Unit Cost $60,000
Engine Solid fuel rocket motor
Warhead 1.17 kg with 390 g explosive
Operational range 6.0 km
Flight ceiling 3.5 km
Maximum speed  Mach 1.9
Guidance system Dual waveband infra-red

“Never Forget that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder”


FIM-92 Stinger

The FIM-92 Stinger is a man-portable air-defence system (MANPADS) that operates as an infrared homing  (SAM). Indian Army uses Stinger in very limited numbers due to its high cost.

Unit cost $80,000
Warhead 3 kg High explosive annular blast fragmentation
Engine Solid-fuel rocket motor
Infrared homing
Range 4,800m
Speed Mach 2.2

These were all the air defense systems used by the indian armed forces. India has multiple layers of air defense systems and when the S-400 air defense system will be inducted, it will increase the air defense capabilities by many folds.


2 thought on “Full List Of India’s Air Defence Systems”
  1. Rare the Indians know about our strong security…very knowledgeable n interesting too….too much information bro keep it up.

  2. Полностью актуальные новинки индустрии.
    Все эвенты всемирных подуимов.
    Модные дома, торговые марки, haute couture.
    Интересное место для модных людей.

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