In a major upgrade to its defences, the Indian Army has signed a MoU with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to raise one regiment of the advanced Medium Range Surface to Air Missiles (MRSAM). The army plans to have a total of five regiments of this air defence system, which will be deployed opposite to China and Pakistan. The MRSAM marks a paradigm shift in the capabilities of the Indian Army. The system can shoot down enemy ballistic missiles, aircraft, helicopters, drones, surveillance aircraft and Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft. Meant for the Army Air Defence, the MRSAM is an advanced, all weather, mobile, land-based air defence system. It is capable of engaging multiple aerial targets at ranges of more than 50 km. Each MRSAM system comprises a command-and-control system, a tracking radar, missiles, and mobile launchers. Each regiment consists of four launchers with three missiles each. So five regiments will have 60 missiles. A MOU has been signed between the army and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for one regiment. “The MOU marks the beginning of the development of the MRSAM in the configuration required by the army,” said a defence ministry official, adding that the entire project is worth Rs 17,000 cr. Earlier this year, the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by PM Narendra Modi approved a proposal for procuring the MRSAM system for the army. According to the proposal, the army will induct five regiments of the system. The system will be jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and DRDO with the involvement of private sectors and DPSUs. “The system will have majority indigenous content, giving boost to the Make-in-India initiative. The participation of Indian companies in producing MRSAM will empower them in the field of hightech weapon technology. Last July, the IAI and DRDO conducted three flight tests of the MRSAM at the integrated test range off the Odisha Coast. The missile successfully intercepted moving aerial targets in all three tests. The MRSAM is a land-based variant of the long-range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) or Barak-8 naval air defence system, which is designed to operate from naval vessels.