India is looking to replace its WWII-technology AAA batteries

Most armies have since the 1960s used surface to air missiles in multiple layers for defense against incoming enemy attack planes and gunships. For instance, the U.S. Army used Redeye manpads and Hawk batteries in the Kennedy-era which were later replaced by Stinger and Patriot respectively. The Soviets did likewise while the allies of each mimicked them.

A few gun batteries, augmented by radar, such as the West German Gephard and U.S Avenger/VADS lingered but they were a separate layer of defense to augment the SAMs and by the early 2000s even these were withdrawn and transferred to third world Allies.

Then there is India.

The country’s main air defenses are manually directed and controlled 40mm Bofors mounts (1,000 L60/L70s) and legions (like 800) of Soviet ZSU-23-2 twin 23mm mounts, essentially WWII-era tech that was made in the 60s and 70s.


To their credit, the Indians picked up a mix of 500~ 2K22 Tunguska, ZSU-23-4M ‘Shilka’ and 9K35 Strela-10 (SA-13 Gopher) SAM vehicles which mount combinations of radar-controlled fast guns and short range SAMs using 1980s Soviet tech, but this is the cutting edge.

India tried to get defence contractors on three continents interested in replacing the Bofors and 23mm twins a few years ago, but only offered about $5 million to do it, which brought no takers.

However, it does look like they are ponying up $3 billion to build (wait for it) new L70s domestically.


But at least they will be radar-directed and use more updated fire control system than the Mk. I eyeball.

Further, a deal for up to 5,000 Indian-made VSHORAD missiles chosen from license-built French MBDA Mistral, Swedish RBS 70NG or Russian Igla-S candidates is still on the table if the tech transfer and rupees can be worked out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.