Portable desi Air Defence Shield’s user trials to begin soon

The very short-range air defence system (VSHORADS) developed by DRDO to neutralize low-altitude aerial threats at ranges up to 6-km.
Very Short-Range Air Defence System (VSHORADS)
Very Short-Range Air Defence System (VSHORADS)

New Delhi: India plans to soon begin `user trials’ of its own man-portable air defence missile system, designed to destroy hostile aircraft, drones and helicopters at very short ranges, even as the armed forces are inducting a limited number of similar Russian systems to plug operational gaps in the continuing military confrontation with China in eastern Ladakh. The Times of India has reported.

The very short-range air defence system (VSHORADS), developed by DRDO to neutralize low-altitude aerial threats at ranges up to 6-km, “should be offered for user-trials to the armed forces by April-May”, TOI quoted a senior defence official.

“The indigenously-developed 4th generation VSHORADS is technically superior to existing MANPADS (man-portable air defence systems) in the Indian armed forces because it has a state-of-the-art uncooled imaging infrared seeker,” he said.

“The upper range of the VSHORADS has been proven through a series of developmental tests. A few more tests to prove it at ranges less than 1-km, where manoeuvring and controlling the missile becomes critical, are required,” he added.

The Rajnath Singh-led defence acquisitions council in January last year had accorded “acceptance of necessity” for procurement of the infrared homing VSHORADS missiles under design and development by DRDO at a cost of Rs 1,920 crore. “Once the VSHORADS successfully completes the user-trials, which will take some time, bulk production can follow,” the official said.

Parallelly, some Indian companies are pursuing the development of “laser-beam riding VSHORADS” under a “Make-II” category project, where prototype development is funded by the industry.

The armed forces are keeping their fingers crossed. VSHORADS offer a low-cost option that can swiftly be deployed for close air defence protection of crucial assets in rugged high-altitude areas as well as in the maritime domain. “They have proved their sheer operational versatility and utility during the Russia-Ukraine war,” an officer said.

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