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Updated January 4th, 2024 at 18:22 IST

DRDO set to commence user trials for VSHORADs to counter evolving aerial threats

India is set to commence 'user trials' for the Very Short-Range Air Defence System (VSHORADS), a domestically developed man-portable air defence missile system.

Yuvraj Tyagi
DRDO's VSHORAD
DRDO's VSHORAD | Image:PIB
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New Delhi: In a significant stride towards enhancing indigenous defence capabilities, India is poised to initiate 'user trials' for the Very Short-Range Air Defence System (VSHORADS), a domestically developed man-portable air defence missile system. Crafted by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the system is designed to effectively counter low-altitude aerial threats, including hostile aircraft, drones, and helicopters, within a range of up to 6 kilometres. 

As the nation grapples with operational gaps in the ongoing military standoff with China in eastern Ladakh, the development of VSHORADS becomes crucial. While the armed forces have recently inducted a limited number of Russian systems to address immediate challenges, the indigenous VSHORADS is set to bolster India's self-reliance in defence. 

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Cutting-edge technology and superiority 

The 4th generation VSHORADS boasts cutting-edge technology, outperforming current Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) in the Indian armed forces. A senior defence official highlighted its superiority, incorporating an advanced uncooled imaging infrared seeker for enhanced precision in neutralizing threats.

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The upper range of the VSHORADS has undergone rigorous validation through a series of developmental tests. However, further trials are essential to prove its effectiveness at ranges less than 1 kilometre, where precise manoeuvring and missile control are paramount. The Defence Acquisitions Council, led by Rajnath Singh, greenlit the procurement of infrared homing VSHORADS missiles last January, allocating a budget of ₹1,920 crore. 

Upon successful completion of user trials, bulk production is expected to commence, marking a significant milestone in India's defence capabilities. Simultaneously, certain Indian companies are engaged in developing 'laser-beam riding VSHORADS' under a 'Make-II' category project, with prototype development being industry-funded. 

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Game-changing impact on India’s defence capabilities  

VSHORADS is poised to be a game-changer in Indian defence, presenting a cost-effective and rapidly deployable solution for close air defence protection. Its operational versatility and utility were underscored during the Russia-Ukraine conflict, showcasing its efficacy in challenging high-altitude areas and maritime environments. 

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With the armed forces facing critical shortages in advanced man-portable air defence missiles, VSHORADS addresses a pressing need. Emergency procurements of Russian Igla-S MANPADS over the past three years have provided interim solutions. The VSHORADS, initially planned for procurement in 2009, now emerges as a permanent and indigenous answer, particularly crucial amid heightened tensions along the northern borders with China. 

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Published January 4th, 2024 at 18:22 IST

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