Shillong, Nov 16 (IANS) Noting that that Russian-made S-400 Triumf missile system is one of the most advanced air defence systems, Eastern Air Command Chief, Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiar on Friday said India is also developing systems to defend itself against ballistic missiles of more capability.
“We will have this capability (S-400 Triumf missile system) to defeat any space-based threat of a certain velocity. As this threat keeps growing, we will have to develop other systems,” Air Marshal Nambiar said.
“Our nation is developing systems to defend ourselves from ballistic missiles of more capability,” he said at the North Eastern Council headquarters in Meghalaya.
He said the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is also developing Program AD ballistic missile system, which will be more capable of interception.
“After Triumpf, it is going to be an Indian system (Program Air Defence) which will be more capable. It will not only intercept within our own atmosphere but also outside,” he said.
“We have tasted success. I was skeptical as anyone else would be, but having seen the Program functions, I think it is just a matter of a few minor glitches and other issues to be set right. We have a very capable air defence system and more importantly, it is ‘Make in India’ system, which will be more cost-effective, more widely available for us with little secrecy because everything will be known by us,” the Air Marshal said.
He said the S-400 Triumf capability, which will be in India’s possession in 23 months from now, is to is to defeat airborne or spaceborne challenges besides giving the ability to defend India very effectively.
India and Russia signed an agreement for the purchase of the missile system in 2016.
On China’s stealth fighter jets, Nambiar who test-flew the Rafale jet in France, said, “We believe we have the capability to defeat the Chinese with what we have at the moment. What happens in the future is another question. But today, we believe that we have the resources, the ability, the training and the ability to defeat at a particular level, but tomorrow is another new day.”
Asked how potent the Indian Air Force is in its airspace, Nambiar said, “Our neighbourhood is dangerous. We have nuclear-armed neighhbours who have designs and claims on what belongs to us. So it is best to be well prepared and forewarned.”
“We believe we have deterrence today. We have the strength, the capability. We have forces both in theatres as well as outside,” Nambiar said.
On China’s developing airfields in the Tibet region, the Air Marshal said, “We are geographically blessed. We have airfields which are at a low altitude and almost at sea level. Most of our airfields are at 400 feet and therefore our aircraft can lift a lot of load.”