India interested in Russian R-37M ultra-long-range air-to-air missile

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The new Indian Minister of Defense, Shri Rajnath Singh, seems determined to bring his ministry out of the administrative and political torpor that has characterized it for nearly 10 years. With the legitimacy (and absolute majority) brought by the legislative elections of 2019, he has undertaken, since his inauguration, to accelerate and simplify the acquisition processes of Defense equipment, of which India is the world's leading importer. .

While the country has just validated an order worth more than $700 million for the acquisition of 300 short-range R-73 air-to-air missiles (NATO code AA-11 Archer) and 400 medium-range R77 missiles (NATO code AA-12 Adder), and an unspecified number of Kh31 anti-radar missiles (NATO code AS-17 Krypton), the Indian ministry has started negotiations with Moscow with a view to acquiring the R-37M missile, reaching a range of more than 300 km, and intended to eliminate support aircraft, such as Awacs and tanker planes.

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Close-up of the R73 and R77 missile under the wings of an Indian Su30MKI

These missiles are intended to equip aircraft of Russian origin in service with the Indian Air Force, namely the Su-30MKI and the Mig29, of which the country has also just ordered additional copies to replace the attrition recorded, and strengthen the country's air power in the short term.

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European aircraft, such as the Mirage 2000, the Jaguar and the Rafale, are they equipped with Western missiles, such as the Mica, ASRAAM missiles and the Meteor missile, which will equip the Rafales Indians. Announcements had been made concerning the possible switch from the Su30 and Mig29 to these European missiles, but the order which has just been placed seems to refute this, at least for the moment.

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