MOSCOW, the Russian Federation (BulgarianMilitary.com) – Another major and important deal in the constantly developing military-technical cooperation between Russia and India is on its way to be concluded. This time it is for the supply of a Russian man-portable air defence missile system (MANPADS) for the Indian Army, under the VSHORAD (Very Short Range Air Defence) missiles project, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
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The prospective Russian-Indian contract for air defence missiles stems from the fact that the Russian state-owned Rosoboronexport has been identified as the lowest responsible bidder which has submitted documents in the above-mentioned Indian procurement offering its Igla-S system. According to the Indian media, which reported the information today, the Russian bid is for $1.5 billion, which considerably undercuts the offers submitted by the other two competitors in the face of France’s MBDA Mistral and Sweden’s SAAB RBS70 NG.
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However, the contract has its obstacles in order to be secured, which not only include the US sanctions for Russian weapons purchases but also the objections raised by the other two bidders on the Russian proposal, reports The Economic Times. According to them, the Russian Igla-S system doesn’t fully meet the requirements set in the India’s project, referring to the fact that it failed to hit low-level target in desert environments in summer and to lock into targets at long distance. These allegations were examined, later on, by independent monitors at the defence ministry but their decision was to continue with the process of opening of commercial tenders.
Another question reported by The Economic Times, is if the Indian Army has the ability to gather the funds needed for the conclusion of the new deal. Due to a massive crash crunch in the capital budget, the Indian Armed Forces received Rs 17, 756 crore less than what they had expected in the annual budget. In relation to this, they already has informed the parliamentary panel on defence that the lack of funds will affect the Vshorad procurement.
The VSHORAD programme has been launched in 2010 by the previous Indian government in order to be replaced aging Russian-made Igla-M systems. The process to procure VSHORAD missiles went through several rounds of trails, and finally, in January this year, Rosoboronexport’s the Igla-S qualified along with SAAB’s RBS70 NG and MBDA’s Mistral.
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Sources: TASS, The Economic Times