Indian Army Air Defence Corps : Updates & Discussions

Gautam

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Indian Army has finally selected the South Korean Hanwha K-30 Biho Anti-Aircraft Artillery Gun and Mobile Air Defence System to replace the older 2K22 'Tunguska' in service with Indian Army. This will be the second South Korean military equipment with IA after K-9 VAJRA-T Self Propelled Howitzer.

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Biho is armed with twin KKCB 30 mm automatic gun which has a cyclic rate of fire of 600 rounds per minute. They are capable to fire HE-FRAG Ammunition and have a range of upto 3 km against low flying aerial targets.

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Biho is complemented by the TPS-830K X-Band Pulse Doppler Radar and also features an Electro-Optical Targeting System, Laser Rangefinder and a Forward Looking Infrared Sensor.

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Biho also features KP-SAM Shin-Gung aka the "Chiron" Short-Range Infrared Homing Surface-to-Air Missile System integrated onto it and has a range of almost 7 km with two pods containg two of the missiles mounted on the system.

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The total deal would be worth $2.6 billion comprising off 104 Biho Systems, 97 Ammo Carriers, 39 Command Vehicles as well as associated accessories and ammunition for it.

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Sathya

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Gautam

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Any make in India?
Don't know for sure. But the Biho is made by Hanwa the same company that makes the K9 VAJRA-T and K10 loader. They have an active partnership with L&T Defence(Land System Division), the K9 and K10 are being manufactured at L&T production facilities. I wouldn't be surprised if the same facilities are used to manufacture the Biho. If nothing else maintenance and spare parts shouldn't be a problem.

At 2.6 billion $, could have bought another 200 vajra
The Vajra and Biho are not compareable systems. The presence of one will not negate the need for the other one. And besides we are acquiring-- "104 Biho Systems, 97 Ammo Carriers, 39 Command Vehicles as well as associated accessories and ammunition for it". So basically we are acquiring 200 platforms and ammo and accessories/spares, I doubt we can acquire 200 Vajra for the same price.

if DRDO could make something similar on T72/ arrjun chassis with QRSAM and guns.
We have all that we need to build a similar product. But we have never even made an attempt. So its useless to start from scratch now. A better plan would be to upgrade the existing Tunguska acquire the Biho and use the knowledge gained to build a system. Not acquiring anything leaves a hole in our defence.

How is better than Pantsir ?
In the bid for mobile AA batteries were two Russian systems. In the bidding process, it beat out an upgraded Tunguska-M1 model built by the Russian state-owned defense company Almaz-Antey and the Pantsir missile system from the Russian KPB Instrument Design Bureau. The K30 Biho was judged the most capable of dual purpose use as an anti-missile and anti-aircraft defense system. The Russians weren't happy about it. You can read about it here :Russia screws up Korea’s arms sales to India
 

Ankit Kumar

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We are looking to upgrade around 48 out of ~100 Shilka , while the rest of Army Air Defence units which operate the 1990 model of Tunguska and older Shilka should get the new K30 Biho.

In the long run i hope Army is able to simply its mechanised Air Defence Weapons to a single platform of K30.

This deal , along with deal of Igla MANPADS and that RFI for anti aircraft guns to replace the soviet era 23mm guns we have.



Current situation :-

Manpad :-

We have
1. Much older SA16 verion Igla
2. SA18 verions bought in 2001.

Replacement
Russia won 1.5 billion USD tender to supply approx 5175 missiles of SA24 (Igla S).
The tender is stuck as France and Sweden both protested and the deal is yet to be signed.

Pakistan has modern FN6, Stinger and RBS70 along with its Anza models.

Anti Aircraft Guns/Artillery:

We have
1. Bofors 40mm (60s to 80s)
2. ZU 23-2 (80s)

We are currently upgrading some of the L70 guns along with a small numbers of ZU232 too.
But the RFP for replacing these guns is stuck.

Pakistan has modern Swiss GDF005 in large numbers supplemented by older chinese guns.

Self Propelled Gun - Missile Systems:-

We have
1. Shilka (Guns only)
2. Tunguska (Gun-Missile )
3. Strela SA13 (5km range Missiles)

We are currently upgrading 48 Shilka.
And then there is this tender where K30 has emerged victorious. Tender still to be signed.

Pakistan has APCs mounted with RBS70 missiles for this task and there was news that Pakistan may try to obtain a Russian system.

Short Range SAM

What we have?
1. OSA SAM (15km max range) system (We are currently procuring its newer generation missiles and these systems will be replaced by QR SAM )

2. S125 system (We are currently procuring new missiles for its upgrade and will be replaced by Akash and its improved variants)

3. SA6 KUB (Again new missiles. Partially replaced by 2 regiments of Akash. QR SAM and more akash orders to replace it fully)

Pakistan has FM90 and Italian SPADA systems.

Medium Range SAM

We had S75 systems, but i cannot say that they are operational even now. The MRSAM will take up this role.

Pakistan has LY80 system under procurement.

Long Range SAM

We have S200 systems.
Coming S400 will replace it.
AAD based 200km range SAM is also said to be under development.

Pakistan is reportedly trying to get its hand on 280km HQ9 series.
 

Austerlitz

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These will accompany the armour of the 3 strike corps or offensively oriented integrated battle groups.We had 100 zsu-23-4 of which 48 were upgraded,rest probably turned to anti infantry mounts in LOC bunkers.Of around 90 tunguskas,around 70 are operational as far as i know.
These will replace the tunguskas and the DRDO QRSAM will replace the SA-8 gecko and sa-13 gopher .

Basically the anti aircraft architecture in near future will be as follows -

Ballistic missile defense - PAD-AAD +PDV +S-400 +old S-300(to be phased out).Main urban centres to be protected.

Specialized cruise missile defense for capital - NASAMS(deal not finalized,seems aimed at shooting down extended range babur saturation attacks against delhi)

Long range air defence/Ballistic missile defense - S-400 (Apparently only 250km and 385 km interceptor missiles have been procured,medium range missile has not been bought by india).To cover vital national installations(nuclear reactors,capital region ,industrial belts etc) as well as forward deployment to push back enemy AWACS and fighters.Also aimed at chinese stealth fighters.
5 regiments and 6000(!) missiles.Delivery begins october 2020,ends by late 2022.


Medium range defense - (70-150 km)
MRSAM Barak-8(air force) -Defense of critical airbases and sectors(where CAP volume is less,partially replace pechoras)providing layered cover for S-400 batteries.1st squadron inducted.More incoming.
MRSAM (army) - Defense of Formation HQs,Rear echelon major ammo depots from cruise missile strikes,.LRSAM of navy destroyers and p-17A also cover coastal installations and naval bases.1st induction 2020,complete by 2023.

Short to medium range - 25-50 km.
Akash (air force) - 15 squadrons(replace s-125 pechoras in air base defence role) Around 1500 missiles total.8 squadrons inducted,7 ordered.
Akash (army) -2 regiments (replace the 2 x Sa-6 gainful missile groups for area defense of mobile formations) -2000 missiles.No further orders as found unsuitable for quick reaction duty.Induction ongoing.

Short range -
Spyder-MR QR-SAM - 4 regiments (3000 missiles) as a stopgap to replace Sa-13 and Sa-8 until DRDO QR-SAM matures)
To accompany armour in offensives in strike formations as well as low level protection for S-400 against PGM/drone.Inducted.
DRDO QR-SAM - Same role.preliminary 2 regiments requirement.Later to expand.Trials.

Zsu-23-4 -out 100 ,48 upgraded.
Tunguska m1 - 70 plus in service.
Above 2 to be replaced by K-30 .Will accompany armour in offensives along with spyder/QRSAM.Combined gun/missile system like pantsir.Designed to shoot down low flying interdictor aircraft/helicopter gunships,drones and and PGMs.

MANPADS.Igla to be replaced by Igla-s.May be switch to Verba after first batch.
Upgraded L70 and other AAA gun for low level CIWS duty.
 
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Gautam

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@Ankit Kumar Thank you for taking the time to write this detailed post. The short/medium range AD situation reminds me of the Artillery.

Remember how we lost our edge in Artillery due to decades of policy paralysis and non-acquisition caused by the Bofors scam ? It was the Army's Field Artillery Re-organisation Program(FARP) that brought the house back in order. Through a mix of indigenous developments(ATAGS and Dhanush programs), outright import(BAE M777 and K9 VAJRA-T) and logistical strengthening(OFB producing BMCS, private companies making artillery shells etc.) the edge is starting to be regained.

Wonder if a similar plan is in sight for the tactical short/medium range mobile AD. We have all the building blocks we need. Employing a mix of indigenous development and import we will be in a much better position. Develop what we can(Akash, QR-SAM, MR-SAM etc), acquire what we can't(MANPADS, AAA guns, Biho etc) and create avenues to pick up some new skills along the way(upgrades of L70, Tunguska etc).

I wish MoD had the foresight to plan things into the future, rather than "just buy what we need right now" approach. What if this deal was laced with the additional requirement of providing tech support in some other project(FICV/FRCV). That way we might as well have ourselves a modified K2 Black Panther, it would be tremendously helpful from the logistical point of view.

MANPADS.Igla to be replaced by Igla-s.May be switch to Verba after first batch.
Upgraded L70 and other AAA gun for low level CIWS duty.
Are there any domestic efforts being run on this front ? MANPADS, AAA guns, CIWS etc ?
 

Austerlitz

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Jun 2, 2018
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@Ankit Kumar Thank you for taking the time to write this detailed post. The short/medium range AD situation reminds me of the Artillery.

Remember how we lost our edge in Artillery due to decades of policy paralysis and non-acquisition caused by the Bofors scam ? It was the Army's Field Artillery Re-organisation Program(FARP) that brought the house back in order. Through a mix of indigenous developments(ATAGS and Dhanush programs), outright import(BAE M777 and K9 VAJRA-T) and logistical strengthening(OFB producing BMCS, private companies making artillery shells etc.) the edge is starting to be regained.

Wonder if a similar plan is in sight for the tactical short/medium range mobile AD. We have all the building blocks we need. Employing a mix of indigenous development and import we will be in a much better position. Develop what we can(Akash, QR-SAM, MR-SAM etc), acquire what we can't(MANPADS, AAA guns, Biho etc) and create avenues to pick up some new skills along the way(upgrades of L70, Tunguska etc).

I wish MoD had the foresight to plan things into the future, rather than "just buy what we need right now" approach. What if this deal was laced with the additional requirement of providing tech support in some other project(FICV/FRCV). That way we might as well have ourselves a modified K2 Black Panther, it would be tremendously helpful from the logistical point of view.


Are there any domestic efforts being run on this front ? MANPADS, AAA guns, CIWS etc ?

Currently there are no such indigenous programmes.Any upgrades of AAA guns will be make in india by private JV.
CIWS navy is satisfied with AK-630 and will only replace them when laser based system becomes available.
MANPADS deal is 800 launchers with 5500 missiles.Igla-s chosen.Maybe changed to verba after first batch.
 
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Milspec

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Great system in general, but if we look at the acquisition, the dearth of a project to develop a world class 20mm and 30mm autocannon shows why we have not developed a system like this on our own. It should be a high priority for us to develop 20mm and 30mm systems with aim to usee it in multiple applications in CIWS, Combat a/c's, Anti Air, armor, etc.
 
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randomradio

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Any make in India?

Unlikely.

At 2.6 billion $, could have bought another 200 vajra, if DRDO could make something similar on T72/ arrjun chassis with QRSAM and guns.

Vajra is an artillery gun. It's got nothing to do here.

QRSAM is too big for this role, maybe the Astra. And we don't have our own guns. Anyway we can't make an equivalent anytime soon. I wouldn't be worried, even the US is importing this.

How is better than Pantsir ?
@randomradio

The Pantsir is a far, far superior system, particularly the Pantsir S1M and S2. But the Russians probably brought in an older variant, like the S1, and screwed up in some crucial requirements since it's outdated by now. Where they screwed up is not known, but they definitely screwed up. Of course, it doesn't help that Indian tenders take years to deliver, so stuff gets obsolete in the meantime, like how the S1 was not good enough to beat the Biho even though the Russians introduced the superior S1M and S2 at a later date.

The same thing happened with the MANPADS tender. The Russian Igla was inferior to its Western competitors, they simply got lucky that it met requirements by a hair. In the meantime, while the tender was running, the Russians introduced the superior Verba.

In both tenders, the Russians couldn't upgrade their offerings with superior systems.

The Koreans are introducing the Biho II pretty soon, which will be equivalent to the Pantsir S2 in capability, but on a far superior platform with an unmanned turret.

Biho II--
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But, as it stands today, there's nothing better than the Pantsir S2.
 

Ankit Kumar

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Unlikely.



Vajra is an artillery gun. It's got nothing to do here.

QRSAM is too big for this role, maybe the Astra. And we don't have our own guns. Anyway we can't make an equivalent anytime soon. I wouldn't be worried, even the US is importing this.



The Pantsir is a far, far superior system, particularly the Pantsir S1M and S2. But the Russians probably brought in an older variant, like the S1, and screwed up in some crucial requirements since it's outdated by now. Where they screwed up is not known, but they definitely screwed up. Of course, it doesn't help that Indian tenders take years to deliver, so stuff gets obsolete in the meantime, like how the S1 was not good enough to beat the Biho even though the Russians introduced the superior S1M and S2 at a later date.

The same thing happened with the MANPADS tender. The Russian Igla was inferior to its Western competitors, they simply got lucky that it met requirements by a hair. In the meantime, while the tender was running, the Russians introduced the superior Verba.

In both tenders, the Russians couldn't upgrade their offerings with superior systems.

The Koreans are introducing the Biho II pretty soon, which will be equivalent to the Pantsir S2 in capability, but on a far superior platform with an unmanned turret.

Biho II--
2018121204344088670.jpg


rW22yrI.png


5aHZliU.png


But, as it stands today, there's nothing better than the Pantsir S2.

Pantsir is definitely the best, but two things.
1. Its much more costly to acquire and operate.
2. Its an overkill for our requirements of replacing Tunguska and Shilka.

If Army has done vigorous testing on K30 and is satisfied with it, i am really looking forward to this deal.
 

Milspec

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randomradio

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Pantsir is definitely the best, but two things.
1. Its much more costly to acquire and operate.
2. Its an overkill for our requirements of replacing Tunguska and Shilka.

If Army has done vigorous testing on K30 and is satisfied with it, i am really looking forward to this deal.

Pantsir is not overkill. But yeah, the Biho is satisfactory for our needs. But after 2030 or so, we will need something like the Biho II, or better.
 

randomradio

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We need to develop our own Defa type autocannon, that can be fielded on gun pods, light armored vehicles, APC's, Patrol boats, Forward posts etc. Both in 20mm and 30 mm versions. We also need some type of a Electrically actuated gattling system at-least in 20mm and 12/14 mm variant.

Importing those is much better. It will take years to get our own designs right.

These types will eventually be superseded by lasers and rail guns anyway. Sooner rather than later considering the advances being made in battery tech.
 

Milspec

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Importing those is much better. It will take years to get our own designs right.

These types will eventually be superseded by lasers and rail guns anyway. Sooner rather than later considering the advances being made in battery tech.
Highly doubt that.
 

_Anonymous_

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Importing those is much better. It will take years to get our own designs right.

These types will eventually be superseded by lasers and rail guns anyway. Sooner rather than later considering the advances being made in battery tech.
Are you suggesting, India moves on to research on lasers straight away? I, frankly, don't see us fielding such laser guns in India in this field till the 50's.
 

randomradio

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Highly doubt that.

Are you suggesting, India moves on to research on lasers straight away? I, frankly, don't see us fielding such laser guns in India in this field till the 50's.

The stuff we are buying now will last us 30-40 years. We will be talking about replacements only after 2050.

Considering we can't even make quality rifles, making a cannon is out of the question. Even if we do, it's not going to be better than imported ones. And by the time we actually do, we will have imported all the cannons we need for the next 30-40 years.

@_Anonymous_
Lasers for air defence will become available in large numbers between 2025 and 35.

Could be even faster in fact.
U.S. Fighter Jets Could Soon Be Armed With Lasers

Btw, laser is a one shot one kill type of weapon, so if you're assuming some kind of fictional laser where you fire off hundreds of individual laser beams like a machine gun, then you're wrong there. Think of it as a sniper instead.

Are you suggesting, India moves on to research on lasers straight away?

We've already started long ago.
 
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Milspec

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The stuff we are buying now will last us 30-40 years. We will be talking about replacements only after 2050.

Considering we can't even make quality rifles, making a cannon is out of the question. Even if we do, it's not going to be better than imported ones. And by the time we actually do, we will have imported all the cannons we need for the next 30-40 years.

@_Anonymous_
Lasers for air defence will become available in large numbers between 2025 and 35.

Could be even faster in fact.
U.S. Fighter Jets Could Soon Be Armed With Lasers

Btw, laser is a one shot one kill type of weapon, so if you're assuming some kind of fictional laser where you fire off hundreds of individual laser beams like a machine gun, then you're wrong there. Think of it as a sniper instead.



We've already started long ago.
I do not put any faith in astrology. I don't know how long it will take India to replace cannons with Lasers. Its close to 3 decades for LCA and even longer for Arjun. This directed energy weapon stuff, unless we see a prototype, there is no predicting timeline, (remember when the first LCA prototype flew? )

Now if we do intend to use Lasers to shoot enemy birds out of the sky, then for sure there is no need to develop XRSAM, AAD/PAD as of not, 2025 is just around the corner now. Should we continue to develop those, or those too are a waste of time?

As far US fighter jets are concerned, An properly assembled at home AR10 will out shoot a SVD fielded by the IA, it doesn't matter what US can have, what matters is what India can develop.

Given HVF can manufacture complex 105mm, 120 mm barrels, it should not be a uphill battle to develop 20mm and 30mm systems. It;s much more reasonable and achievable product, with massive volume needs (CIWS, Ack ack, Mobile SAM, HMG's, Antimaterial, Fixed Wing and Rotary platforms, Armored vehicles, foward posts etc. ) that functional Laser weapons.
 
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randomradio

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Now if we do intend to use Lasers to shoot enemy birds out of the sky, then for sure there is no need to develop XRSAM, AAD/PAD as of not, 2025 is just around the corner now. Should we continue to develop those, or those too are a waste of time?

Very bad analogy. A gun is good up to 4Km. A laser will probably give you a little more. But XRSAM etc are needed for long range engagement.

So, with current technology, a laser can replace a gun, not a missile.

Just imagine a Biho or Pantsir with missiles and a laser turret.

As far US fighter jets are concerned, An properly assembled at home AR10 will out shoot a SVD fielded by the IA, it doesn't matter what US can have, what matters is what India can develop.

That's why I put our date as 2025-35, and the US before that.

Given HVF can manufacture complex 105mm, 120 mm barrels, it should not be a uphill battle to develop 20mm and 30mm systems. It;s much more reasonable and achievable product, with massive volume needs (CIWS, Ack ack, Mobile SAM, HMG's, Antimaterial, Fixed Wing and Rotary platforms, Armored vehicles, foward posts etc. ) that functional Laser weapons.

No, it won't be difficult to develop 20 to 40mm cannons. But our stuff's gonna suck compared to imports, which is my point. That's also the reason why DRDO has not pursued it. It's not a good idea to develop everything with our level of funding when imports are much cheaper and better. There's a lot of stuff DRDO has not bothered with, like MANPADS that will go on mobile AD.

You can always develop your own mobile AD system with an imported gun and missile anyway, which is not really a very efficient way to go about it when the imports are a whole lot better. You will notice that the US will also be importing their mobile AD.

Most of the stuff you named will be inducted over the next 20 years will need imported cannons anyway.
 
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