India faces a variety of military threats that tests the defense forces in its ability to protect civilians from attack. The armed forces have defended itself against a belligerent Pakistan no fewer than five times on the battlefield, each victory reliant on its superiorly trained manpower and qualitative advantage over its enemies.

The proliferation of ballistic missiles - particularly in Pakistan - has forced India to strengthen a new aspect of its defense doctrine – active anti-missile technology. China though seen as a potential threat does not warrant immediate action, apart from the 1962 war and India's 1967's resounding border victory over China, both the superpowers have hardly exchanged any sort of gunfire across the vast fragmented borders. The threat of Pakistan's nuclear assets falling into the hands of religious zealots accentuates the need for a credible defence apparatus to protect our airspace.

Pakistan's Clandestine Missile Acquisition

Some sources suggest Pakistan's Babur cruise missile is based on the Ukrainian Kh-55SM/Korshun LACM, whose detailed production engineering data packages were bought from Kiev by 2001 which had by then been developed by Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk-based Yuzhnoye State Design Bureau or Yuzhmash. Defence analyst Prasun K Sengupta writes, while the world is now more than well-conversant with the ‘Wall Mart’ of nuclear weapons proliferation that was created by Pakistani metallurgist Dr A Q Khan since the mid-1990s, substantial details have emerged since late 2004 about a parallel ‘Wall Mart’ that Dr Khan had built up, this time for acquiring LACMs off-the-shelf from Yuzhmash. However, the Babur’s IIR terminal seeker—offering a CEP of 10 metres—has been supplied off-the-shelf by China's Xi’an Sicong Group.

Task At Hand

Given India's large size, ballistic missiles represent an existential threat and it must therefore have an antimissile defense network that provides protection for the wast swathe of its population. The philosophy of active missile defense - involving the development of advanced anti-missile systems as well as grouping together air, rocket and early warning capabilities - underpins India's defense doctrine, also including passive defense and counter-strike capabilities.

The missile threat is not confined to one geographical region or to any one type of missile. India, has cleverly created a multi-layered missile defense system in order to combat this threat and this defense system is considered one of the most advanced in the world.

It is speculated that with active help from Israel the Indian Army began use of an upgraded early warning system for incoming projectiles along the regions bordering Pakistan. Portable warning systems were distributed to areas not covered by existing system, and software upgrades to help more specifically pinpoint the areas in danger and thereby resort to effective retribution against the enemy.

DRDO is speculated to be in talks with Israeli defense companies to develop an anti-cruise missile system, but there are currently no details available.

Key Option

Name: David's Sling 

Developers: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems; Raytheon Company, US;
Target: Medium- to long-range rockets (63-185 miles / 100 to 300 km range);
Missile: Stunner 2-Stage Interceptor with Electro-Optical Sensor & Radar Targeting

Overview: David's Sling was developed as a flexible, multipurpose weapon system capable of engaging aircraft, cruise missiles, ballistic and guided missiles. Its Stunner interceptor missile is designed for land-based, maritime and airborne applications and is fitted with a dual-band imaging infrared and radio-frequency seeker, as well as a multi-pulse rocket motor enabling all-weather operation. David's Sling was designed to target incoming missiles during their terminal phase, unlike the Iron Dome which intercepts missiles at their highest trajectory. Its primary role will be to intercept medium- and long-range ballistic and guided rockets, such as the Iranian Fajr-5 and BM-25 as well as the Syrian M-600 and Yakhont supersonic cruise missile (which our Brahmos supersonic cruise is based on). It will bridge the Iron Dome (Short Range interceptor) with the Arrow Theatre (long range interceptor).

The developers said David's Sling performed up to standards in a number of tests, calling the system “efficient, fast, and deadly.” The David's Sling system is capable of destroying cruise missiles, attack drones, heavy long-range rockets, short-range ballistic missiles, enemy aircraft and even mortars. This was the fourth and final test of the system.

The Israeli Air Force began to take delivery of the David's Sling missile system in early March 2016. Delivery of the system will be a gradual and phased process according to the Defense Ministry, with phase one including delivery of the system's multi-mission radar, Stunner interceptor missiles, and battle management center. The David's Sling system was announced as fully operational on April 2, 2017.

David's Sling missiles cost about $1 million each, compared to Iron Dome missiles which run closer to $70,000.


Developing an effective deterrence shield against incoming hostile cruise missiles would take the country decades to develop and deploy, therefore, to counter this very imminent threat,  India needs to quickly purchase a proven system from its strategic partners and Israel is one of the few countries who has mastered the difficult task of defending itself from hostile missiles.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned after marking operational deployment of the David's Sling Weapon System: "Whoever seeks to hit us will be hit. Whoever threatens our existence places himself in existential danger." This is the very dictum our policy makers should adopt.

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