The new MRSAM system comes to 2204 Squadron called the Invincibles

The Indian Air Force received its first Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) system on Thursday. The missile system can destroy aircraft from a distance of 110 kilometres and is capable of launching 24 missiles on 16 targets simultaneously.

The system has been jointly developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) with Israel Aerospace Industries in line with ‘Make in India’ mantra, aimed at self-reliance in defence production.

The induction comes at a time when the Indian forces are looking to ramp up their capabilities against unconventional warfare that includes the use of drones. This is the first of the 18 firing units that will be handed over to the Indian Air Force.

Capabilities of MRSAM

Fitted with Israel’s Barak missile, the system is supersonic, which means it can travel at a lightning pace exceeding the speed of sound. It is designed to intercept targets like aircraft, missiles and other munitions.

The system can be transported in a short time, making it difficult for the adversary to mark its presence on the ground.

The missile is powered by an indigenously developed rocket motor and control system for achieving high manoeuvrability during the terminal phase.

The missile system also has a short response time against traditional and advanced threats that are capable of covering a large area.

The induction ceremony took place in Jaisalmer where Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO G Satheesh Reddy handed over the system to Chief of Air Staff RKS Bhadauria in the presence of Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday.

“I have full faith that in time to come, not only our defence sector will be self-reliant, but it will be a hub for defence manufacturing across the world. The road to reach there goes through programmes like this. With the handing over of MRSAM system to IAF, we have taken a giant leap towards achieving ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ as envisioned by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It will prove to be a game changer in the air-defence system,” Rajnath Singh said.

During the event, DRDO and IAI officials demonstrated the capabilities of MRSAM system, as part of On-Site Acceptance Test (OSAT).

Earlier, the Indian Navy had received another version of the MRSAM and now the Indian Army’s requirements are also likely to be expedited.

“The project was delayed, but all issues could be resolved. The next project of MRSAM for the army will also speed up,” DRDO chairman Dr G Sateesh Reddy said.

On the occasion, Rajnath Singh remembered former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, terming him a "visionary who paved the way for self-reliance in defence sector, especially in the missile development program.

"Around 30 years ago, Dr Kalam initiated the Integrated Missile Development Program at a time when scientists were facing various restrictions in the field of technology. Despite all this, the success of the programme not only ensured self-reliance in missile development, but also thwarted possibility of any cross-border threat," the defence minister added.

Boaz Levy, the president of Israel Aerospace Industries said this was a result of great teamwork between India and Israel.

The new system comes to 2204 squadron called the Invincibles, which is based in Jaisalmer. It was resurrected in 2015 to come up in a new avatar with MRSAM.

The squadron was originally raised in Bhatinda on October 3, 1975, when it was equipped with Surface to Air Missile ‘Pechora’. It was relocated to Pune in 1993 before getting resurrected in 2015.