NEW DELHI --- Bit by bit, India is working towards making its national Capital more impregnable against military or 9/11-like terror attacks from aircraft, missiles and drones. The measures underway include getting a new missile shield to replace older air defence systems, reconfiguring the VIP no-fly zone and refining the protocol to shoot down rogue planes.
Sources say the defence acquisitions council (DAC), chaired by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, has approved the "acceptance of necessity (AoN) for the acquisition of the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II) worth around $1 billion from the US.
Simultaneously, as part of the overall Delhi Area Air Defence Plan, work is on to further realign the "VIP-89 area" over New Delhi, which includes Rashtrapati Bhawan, Parliament, North and South Blocks, as well as shorten the decision-making loop to shoot down planes that may have been hijacked or commandeered for use as "missiles against strategic targets", say sources.
The NASAMS, armed with the three-dimensional Sentinel radars, short and medium-range missiles, launchers, fire-distribution centers and command-and-control units to quickly detect, track and shoot down multiple airborne threats, is part of the air defence network guarding Washington. It is also deployed in several NATO countries. Besides the US national capital region, Israeli cities and Moscow also have their own missile defence systems.
India’s move to acquire NASAMS comes even as DRDO is in the final stages of developing its two-tier ballistic missile defence (BMD) shield, which is designed to track and destroy nuclear missiles both inside (endo) and outside (exo) the earth's atmosphere.
"Once the Phase-I of the BMD system is operational, it will be deployed to protect cities like Delhi and Mumbai from long-range missiles with a 2,000-km strike range. The NASAMS, in turn, is geared towards intercepting cruise missiles, aircraft and drones," said a source. (end of excerpt)
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