India seeks “Kalibr” cruise missiles from Russia

The Indian Navy already possesses “Calibr” missiles, but only the anti-ship variety.

The Indian Navy already possesses “Calibr” missiles, but only the anti-ship variety.

Russian Defence Ministry Press and Information Office/TASS
Among the issues to be discussed during the forthcoming visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to India is the supply of “Kalibr” cruise missiles.

India will soon inform Russia that it seeks to buy “Kalibr” cruise missiles, equipped with the latest high precision guidance system, and capable of striking ground targets. The issue will be discussed during of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forthcoming visit to India, an informed diplomatic source told “Novosti.”

Military analysts believe that with the advent of the latest “Kalibrs”, the Indian military will acquire new combat capabilities and be able to prepare to locally develop the cruise missile.

The proposal has been prepared by India and will be officially handed over during President Putin’s visit, said the source of “Izvestia”. These will be the same rockets that were used in Syria, with a high precision guidance system, but with a reduced flight range in full compliance with the international regulations.

Putin is scheduled to make two visits to India by the end of this year. The Russian President will visit Goa for the BRICS summit in October, and plans to visit Delhi for the bilateral annual “Russia-India” summit towards the end of the year.

A multiple launch of Kalibr seaborne cruise missiles from the submerged Rostov-on-Don submarine. Source: TV Channel ZvezdaA multiple launch of Kalibr seaborne cruise missiles from the submerged Rostov-on-Don submarine. Source: TV Channel Zvezda

The Indian Navy already possesses “Kalibr” missiles, but only the anti-ship variety. New Delhi wants to get a modification, used for attacks on terrorists in Syria. These are distinguished by the presence of a new high precision guidance system, but the range in the export version will be greatly reduced – up to 300 km, so as not to violate the provisions of the MTCR international agreements, prohibiting export of missiles with a longer range.

However, specialists do not exclude the possibility that India will, in the future, be able to increase the flight range of the “Kalibr”. The emergence of the new armed “Kalibrs” could provide an additional impetus to the Indian defence industry.

“The Indians are now designing their own medium-range cruise missiles called ‘Nirbhay’. The first successful test was conducted this year, but we are still very far from adopting them,” said Peter Topychkanov, an officer with “The problems of non-proliferation” programme. “The emergence of “Kalibr” will be a great help in terms of the development of technology, understanding of the role of such systems in the armed forces, and development of operational plans. With the help of “Kalibr,” India will be able to adopt their own system.”

Kalibr missile. Source: Voennoye obozreniyeKalibr missile. Source: Voennoye obozreniye

Anton Lavrov, an independent military expert, said in an interview with “Izvestia” that high-precision cruise missiles are only owned by a few countries in the world, so the emergence of new “Kalibrs” is a landmark in the development of the Indian armed forces.

“The strengths of the “Kalibr” are its high precision and the ability to hit well-protected objects, including control and air defence facilities centres”, Lavrov said. “The most important thing is the surprise effect. When there is an air raid, the enemy has time to react, but cruise missiles strike unexpectedly. In addition, “Kalibr” has an advantage – it can manoeuvre and hit the target from unexpected directions.”

He also drew attention to another important aspect of the export of new cruise missiles.

“’Kalibr’ has the feature of using high-precision satellite guidance, and hence, its application requires very close cooperation in the military sphere, as the Indians will have to grant access to the three-dimensional model of the Earth, maps, terrain and the GLONASS military frequencies,” said Lavrov. “Such opportunities are not just given to anybody, only the closest allies.”

First published in Russian by Izvestia.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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