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.

(Defence Watch– India’s Defence News centre that places the spotlight on Defence Manufacturing, Defence Technology, Strategy and Military affairs is on Twitter. Follow us here and stay updated.)

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