Order includes close to 300 short-range air-to-air missiles, the R-73, and 400 medium-range air-to-air guided missiles, the RVV-AE

New Delhi: After the Balakot strike and the dogfight with the Pakistani air force in February, India is looking to increase its stockpile of missiles with the Modi government ordering weaponry worth about $700 million for the Indian Air Force from Russia.

These include air-to-air missiles with an extended range as well air-to-surface missiles, ThePrint has learnt.

Highly placed sources said close to 300 short-range air-to-air missiles, the R-73, and 400 medium-range air-to-air guided missiles, the RVV-AE, also known as the R-77, have been ordered.

The R-77 is the Russian counterpart to the US medium-range AIM-120 AMRAAM missile. The American make was unsuccessfully used by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) to target Indian Su-30MKIs on 27 February, a day after the IAF strikes on Balakot.

These missiles are designed to arm the Russian-made MiG and Sukhoi aircraft.

The order, meant to boost the IAF’s capability, also includes a radar-busting missile, the X-31, said the sources.

Russia, India eye longer range missiles

Sources said Russia has also offered to help India for future orders with missiles with ranges longer than the ones it currently possesses.

According to Russian Tactical Missiles Corporation, the developer and producer of most of the Russian air-to-air missiles, the R-73’s range is 30 km. The range of its latest version, the RVV-MD, is 40 km.

It’s the same case with the R-77, which can hit targets at a distance of up to 80 km, while its latest version, the RVV-SD, can go up to 110 km.

Russia is currently offering its partners globally the short-range air-to-air RVV-MD missiles, medium-range air-to-air RVV-SD missiles, long-range air-to-air RVV-BD missiles, and medium-range air-to-air RVV-AE (R-77) missiles.

Integrating other missiles — for instance, the Israeli Derby air-to-air missiles — with the Su-30 will require permission from Russia, said the sources.

“Russia and India can jointly implement the programme of modernisation of the IAF’s air-to-air missiles. All the requirements of the Air Force can be discussed and met. The work could start as soon as possible once the formal request is made,” added the sources.