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Browne looks beyond Iron Dome at David

The Iron Dome

Bangalore, Feb. 7: Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system that is being advertised at the Aero India show with much fanfare is unsuitable for the needs of the Indian military but there are other systems that are being looked into, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K Browne said today.

The Telegraph had reported on Thursday that though Israel had brought its “combat-proven” Iron Dome missile launcher to India for the first time, it was probably keener on selling to India a system known as David’s Sling with the Stunner missile that intercepts airborne threats from longer ranges.

“We have seen the performance of the Iron Dome in the limited conflict between Israel and Gaza (last November). It proved very successful in their environment. Somehow, I feel that in our context — our borders are far too long and our airspace more congested — the Iron Dome is not the answer for our environment. But certainly they are working on the David’s Sling,” Browne said.

At another presentation of the Iron Dome system today, Israeli ambassador Alon Ushpiz said: “The presence of the system in India is special to us because we are displaying these solutions for the first time here in India, an intimate partner of Israel, in our mutual strive to protect and defend our citizens.”

Browne also said the government should consider imposing heavy penalties on defence suppliers who do not stick to delivery schedules. Most of the IAF’s modernisation has been delayed because the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft project by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and the DRDO and the delivery of license-produced Sukhoi 30 Mki fighter aircraft have overshot deadlines by years.