The Indian Air Force (IAF) displayed two variants of its Surface to Air Missile for Assured Retaliation (SAMAR) system during the recent DefExpo 2022 held in October. SAMAR has been developed by IAF’s 7 Base Repair Depot (BRD) and 11 BRD in partnership with Simran Flowtech Industries and Yamazuki Denki.

SAMAR is a short range air defence system using Russian origin Vympel R-73 and R-27 air to air missiles. The missiles with an expired shelf life are refurbished and mated to a launch platform and firing circuits.

SAMAR-I was first unveiled in March 2021 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was spotted reviewing the system. It is mounted on a ZiL-131 6×6 truck and equipped with two R-73E short range infrared homing missiles. An electro optic system was visible on each missile launcher.

However, the model displayed at DefExpo 2022 used an Ashok Leyland Stallion 4×4 truck. The system has a claimed range of 10-12 km and is effective against low flying targets. It can be fired in salvo and single fire mode. To date the SAMAR-I has undergone 17 test firings.

SAMAR-II is a follow-on program to SAMAR-I using R-27ET1 medium range infrared homing missiles. Two missiles are mounted on a BEML Tatra T815 8×8 truck which is equipped with a self loading knuckle crane, generator and control systems. The system is expected to have a range of over 20 km.

Both variants of SAMAR can be adjusted in elevation and azimuth prior to firing. According to SIPRI, India has purchased over 4500 R-73 missiles since 1987. Hundreds of R-27 missiles are also present in IAF’s inventory.

Systems like VL-SRSAM are projected to complement Akash and SPYDER systems used by IAF, replacing the old upgraded Pechora and OSA-AK systems. While its capabilities would be limited compared to dedicated air defence systems, SAMAR could prove to be a low cost interim solution with export potential. However, IAF’s interest in procuring SAMAR remains unclear.