April 22, 2021
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Effective shield
India is likely to consider Israeli Iron Dome for air defence

In view of a dual front threat and increasing tension with China along the LAC, India is actively evaluating the prospect of buying Iron Dome shield to counter rockets, mortars and missiles for protecting vital military installations, important national assets and even population centers.

After the high success rate of Iron Dome in live conditions, India is interested that the system can really provide a range of solutions to rouge airborne weapons those have scientifically any credible counter measure.

But Iron Dome has made headlines recently in the military circle all over the world including drawing the attention of US President Barack Obama who has been impressed with functioning of the system which is being termed as quite effective against low flying aerial weapon systems.    

Now, India is giving a serious thought to buy Iron Dome anti-missile and anti-rocket system from Israel but still in the process of clearing many doubts about the efficacy of the system in Indian conditions.

In case of India both Pakistan and China share very active borders and their proximity in terms of distance is quite close, therefore, counter measures should be able to show hyper reaction kill capability and greater accuracy to make the flying object redundant before it could do any damage.   

According to MoD Sources, India has made it clear that it will not simply buy the system from Israel but it is keen in a deal like ‘buy and build’ for the system to meet its long term requirement.

During the Indian Air Force Chief visit to Israel in January 2013, Israel had shown the capability of Iron Dome in live conditions and some Indian delegation members were quite impressed with the kill capability.

After that India is showing interest in Iron Dome but does not want to become a simple buyer. For that, India has been asking Israel to lift technology restrictions and then only New Delhi will hold meaningful talks.

If Israel can decide about Indian terms and conditions, then the possibility is that there can be more talks about the technical and other issues.

In fact, Iron Dome air defence and anti-rocket system has got US investment in it. The US has invested more than 700 million USD so far. Thus, there is a fear in India that US technology restriction may interfere in future.

To ward off such threat, India is asking for more clarity in Iron Dome related technology and project control that Israel is having at the moment.

India would like that R&D activities for Iron Dome should also shift to India with at least 30 per cent work sharing with local Indian companies. Since DRDO and Rafael have got a strong cooperation in LR-SAM and MR-SAM project, it will be easier for Israel to meet Indian demands.

But US will have to wave off the restriction in a more clear manner. Iron Dome, the first system of its kind, is a mobile, all-weather air-defence system that has attracted global interest following its success in combating Palestinian rockets.

Iron Dome is an advanced defense system, designed for quick detection, discrimination and interception of rockets & mortar threats with ranges of up to and over 70 km and against aircraft, helicopters, UAVs and PGMs.

Its ability to discriminate between threats headed towards the defended area and those that will fall into the sea or open fields reduces costs and limits unnecessary interceptor launches. A single launcher can protect against a medium-size city.