New Delhi, Thursday, April 24, 2008: The Indian defence ministry Thursday invited bids for purchasing the quick reaction surface-to-air missile (QRSAM) under a multi-billion project, an official said Thursday.
“The RFPs (request for proposal) for the short-range missiles were issued yesterday (Wednesday),” the official told IANS.
The missiles can engage targets, like enemy planes, at the range of 2.5 km. Mainly the Indian Army will use the systems for air defence. While the number of missiles to be purchased was not clear, the purchase will roughly cost Rs 35 billion.
According to sources, delays in operationalising the surface-to-air Akash missile is the main reason behind the RFPs.
Earlier the Indian Air Force, following the delays, had brought the Israeli Spyder missile to plug gaps in its armoury.
Chief of Army Staff Gen. Deepak Kapoor in January this year had expressed dissatisfaction at the performance of the missiles.
"Some of our requirements are still to be met. Only after that will we try out the system," Gen. Kapoor said of the army version of Akash, which the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has taken 20 years to develop against a target of 12 years.
Besides Israeli Spyder, Russian Tor M1 9M330 is likely to be in the fray for the multi-billion project.