India on Wednesday conducted the first launch of the Army version of the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM), which is an Air and Missile Defence system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in collaboration with the Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI). The successful test was conducted off the coast of Odisha from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) around 4 pm, in which the missile hit an unmanned aerial target mimicking an aircraft.
In April 2017, India had signed a contract with Israel for supply of the MRSAM, which is a land-based medium-range Air Defence surface-to-air missile system. The MRSAM Army version consists of a command and control post, multi-function radar and mobile launcher system. The complete fire unit was used during the launch on Wednesday in the deliverable configuration. A team of the Indian Army also witnessed the launch.
“A number of range instruments such as radar, telemetry and electro-optical tracking system were deployed and captured the complete mission data, validating the weapon system performance, including the destruction of the target,” read a statement from the Ministry of Defence.
Posting the video of Wednesday’s MRSAM test, the office of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted, “Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh has congratulated Team DRDO for the successful maiden launch of the Army version of MRSAM missile off the coast of Odisha today. The MRSAM Army version is a Surface to Air Missile developed jointly by DRDO and IAI, Israel.”
The DRDO said in a tweet, “Maiden launch of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) Army Version from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur, off the Coast of Odisha, was conducted at about 4 pm. The missile destroyed the high-speed unmanned aerial target, which was mimicking an aircraft, with a direct hit.”
The Defence Research and Development Laboratory, a Hyderabad-based facility of the DRDO Lab, has jointly developed this missile in collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries. The MRSAM has been manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited, India.
In May 2019, Indian Navy, DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries had conducted the maiden ‘co-operative engagement firing’ of the naval version of the MRSAM. The firing was undertaken on the Western seaboard by Indian Naval Ships Kochi and Chennai, wherein the missiles from both ships were controlled by one ship to intercept different aerial targets at extended ranges.
At the time of the May 2019 MRSAV naval version test, the Ministry of Defence had said, “These Surface to Air Missiles are fitted onboard the Kolkata Class Destroyers and would also be fitted on all future major warships of the Indian Navy. With the successful proving of this cooperative mode of engagement, the Indian Navy has become part of a select group of navies that have this niche capability. This capability significantly enhances the combat effectiveness of the Indian Navy, thereby providing an operational edge over potential adversaries.”
The MoD press statement read, “DRDO Chairman Dr G Satheesh Reddy congratulated the DRDO community for successfully demonstrating the performance of the MRSAM Army weapon system, registering direct target hit in its maiden launch. He also lauded the efforts of the entire team in realising the system within record time and meeting the committed schedule.”