Igla-S (Very short-range air defense system

Igla-S (Very short-range air defense system



Why in the News?


The Indian Army will soon be equipped with Russian Igla-S very short-range air defence systems and Israeli Hermes-900 UAVs, assembled by ADSTL (Adani System Defense and Technology Limited) in Hyderabad. These procurements are integral to India’s efforts to bolster its air defence capabilities and advanced defence technology through collaborative partnerships and technology exchange.


About Igla S Air defence system


  • The Igla-S air defence system, developed by Russia, is a highly effective man-portable air defence system (MANPADS)
  • This system can target a variety of visible fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, as well as small air targets like cruise missiles and drones.
  •  The Igla-S includes the 9M342 missile, the 9P522 launching mechanism, the 9V866-2 mobile test station, and the 9F719-2 test set, offering a robust air defence solution.
  •  It has an effective range of up to 6 km and can destroy targets at altitudes of up to 3.5 km. 
  • The system features a more powerful warhead for enhanced damage and uses contact and timed fuzes to increase attack range. 
  • Designed for operation by either an individual or a crew, the Igla-S provides versatile defence against low-flying aircraft, cruise missiles, and drones, making it a vital element of India’s air defence strategy.



How is Igla S advantageous over other Man-portable Air defence systems?


  • Compactness and Mobility: The Igla-S system is designed to be compact and mobile, ensuring ease of deployment and flexibility in combat scenarios.
  • “Fire-and-Forget” Capability: Utilizing the “fire-and-forget” principle, the Igla-S enhances operator survivability and stealth by allowing effective target engagement without maintaining line of sight.
  • Versatile Launching Options: This system supports high launch versatility, enabling missile deployment through various methods such as launching mechanisms, support launchers, equipment sets, turret installations, and combat vehicles, offering operational flexibility.
  • Comprehensive Air Defense: It includes advanced components like the 9M342 missile, 9P522 launching mechanism, 9V866-2 mobile test station, and 9F719-2 test set, providing a thorough air defence solution suitable for various operational needs.
  • High Hit Probability: According to the manufacturer, the Igla-S system achieves a high hit probability, ranging from 0.8 to 0.9, ensuring effective target engagement and destruction.
  • Reliable Operational Performance: Despite facing some challenges and controversies under specific conditions, the Igla-S system has proven effective across different environments, making it a dependable choice for air defence.


Significance of Very short-range air defence system for India


  • Regional Security: Deploying advanced air defence systems like VSHORADS enhances regional security by strengthening India’s defence capabilities. It demonstrates India’s commitment to effectively protecting its airspace and maintaining regional stability. India faces regional security challenges from both sides of the border; therefore, it is important to integrate very short-range air defence systems into defence capabilities.
  • Geopolitical Significance: India’s development and acquisition of advanced defence systems like VSHORADS boost its defence capabilities and impact future geopolitical alignments and defence collaborations, establishing India as a more autonomous and strategically influential player in the region.
  • Strategic Autonomy: Investing in indigenous defence projects like VSHORADS underscores India’s commitment to self-reliance in defence technology. This reduces reliance on imports, enhances security infrastructure, and positions India as a significant player in the global defence sector.
  • Modernization and Replacement: Introducing VSHORADS marks a crucial shift in India’s air defence strategy. It aims to replace outdated systems, such as the Igla missile system acquired in the 1980s. This modernisation effort is vital to counter modern threats and strengthen India’s defence capabilities.
  • Technological Advancements: The VSHORADS, developed by DRDO, signifies a significant technological advancement for India’s defence capabilities. It features modern technologies such as a miniaturised Reaction Control System (RCS) and integrated avionics, boosting its effectiveness against low-altitude aerial threats at short ranges.
  • Enhanced Air Defense: The VSHORADS system equips the Indian Army with essential short-range air defence capabilities, crucial for protecting ground forces and vital assets from aerial threats like helicopters, low-flying aircraft, and cruise missiles.


Indigenous development of Very short-range air defence system


  • VSHORADS(Very short-range air defence system) is a man-portable air defence system (MANPADS) created by the Research Centre Imarat (RCI), a division of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in partnership with other DRDO labs and Indian industry partners. Adani Defence and Aerospace serves as the Development-cum-Production Partner (DcPP) for the manufacturing of the VSHORAD system.
  • DRDO successfully conducted two flight tests of VSHORADS missiles using a ground-based portable launcher at the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur, off Odisha’s coast. The missiles effectively intercepted and destroyed high-speed unmanned aerial targets in various scenarios, achieving all mission objectives.


India’s Air Defense Network

India has established a robust, multi-layered air defence network with various systems to counter aerial threats at different ranges. Key air defence systems in India’s arsenal include:

Long-Range Systems:

  • S-400 Triumf: An advanced long-range surface-to-air missile system from Russia, capable of engaging targets up to 400 km away.
  • Indo-Israeli MRSAM: A medium-range surface-to-air missile system developed jointly by India and Israel.

Intermediate-Range Systems:

  • Akash SAM: An indigenous medium-range surface-to-air missile system capable of engaging multiple aerial targets.
  • Pechora SAM: A Soviet-origin surface-to-air missile system that has been a mainstay of the Indian Air Force’s air defense for decades.

Short-Range Systems:

  • Spyder SAM: A quick-reaction surface-to-air missile system from Israel.
  • Barak-8 SAM: A surface-to-air missile system jointly developed by India and Israel, primarily for naval use.

Very Short-Range Systems:

  • Igla-S MANPADS: A man-portable air defence system from Russia enhancing the Indian Army’s short-range air defence, especially in mountainous regions along the northern borders.
  • SAMAR SAM: An indigenous surface-to-air missile system developed by the Indian Air Force’s 7 Base Repair Depot, utilizing old Russian-origin air-to-air missile systems.

Indigenous Development:

  • DRDO’s VSHORADS: An indigenous very short-range air defence system developed by the DRDO to counter low-altitude aerial threats at short ranges.
  • Project Kusha: An ongoing initiative to develop an indigenous long-range surface-to-air missile system with a range of up to 350 km.


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Prelims Based Question


Q1. Consider the following statements:

  1. Igla S is an Israel-made, Very short-range air defence system.
  2. A very short-range air defence system is primarily used to intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Choose the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a). 1 Only

(b). 2 Only

(c). Both 1 and 2

(d). Neither 1 nor 2




Mains Based Question


Q1. How the integration of Very short-range air defense system can bolster India’s defence preparedness to face any regional security challenges? 


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