R-73 Air to Air Missile based Surface to Air Missile – ‘SAMAR’ (Surface to Air Missile for Assured Retaliation) by Indian Air Force seen in PM Narendra Modi Combined Commander Conference.
As you can see in the photo that the SAMAR is placed on a truck and the R-73 missile is mounted on a rail launcher. IAF is probably making this system for Indian Army as IAF is already getting indigenous VL-SRSAM for short range Air Defence.
At the Combined Commanders’ Conference, saw some of the innovations by our armed forces that were showcased in the exhibition. pic.twitter.com/3mvjklO7vM
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 6, 2021
This improvised system by IAF does makes sense as India acquired around 5,000 R-73s Air to Air missile from Russia since the mid 80s and many of them have good amounts of shelf life left and considering the fact that IAF is moving towards European & Indigenous solutions like ASRAAM (Advance Short Range Air to Air Missile), NG-CCM (Next Generation-Close Combat Missile) and Astra-IR to replace R-73 in Air to Air role.
The main reason behind replacing R-73 is IAF wants a better and more reliable platform in Air to Air role as the Russian Missile didn’t perform well in a dog fight that happened after Balakot Air strike.
As these systems have considerable amount of flight hours left, it is not a bad option to convert these Air to Air Missile into SAM systems in order to completely utilize these missiles at very cheap cost.
Converting Air to Air Missile into SAM is not a new concept as American NASAMS or Israeli SPYDER has already done this with AMRAAM and Derby missiles. Even India also developed a system – ‘VL-SRSAM‘ based on indigenous Astra Air to Air missile.
As R-73 has a Air to Air range of about 30 KM we can expect the range of ‘SAMAR’ somewhere around 5 to 15 KM. The system will act as a force multiplier for the Armed Forces at low cost.