IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


16th November, 2023 Security

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Russia signed a contract to supply Igla-S hand-held anti-aircraft missiles to India and has allowed the production of the Igla under license.


  • Igla-S is a prominent and highly effective man-portable air defense system (MANPADS) developed by Russia.
  • The Igla-S is developed and manufactured by the Russian state-owned defense company, KBM (Design Bureau of Machine Building), which specializes in designing missile systems.

Technical Specifications

  • Design and Components:
    • 9M342 Missile: The Igla-S system consists of the 9M342 missile, which is a part of combat equipment. It is a next-generation surface-to-air missile designed for engaging low-flying aircraft, helicopters, drones, and cruise missiles.
    • 9P522 Launching Mechanism: This component serves as the launching system for the 9M342 missile, enabling deployment by either an individual operator or a crew.
  • Maintenance Equipment:
    • 9V866-2 Mobile Test Station: Used for maintenance purposes, this station ensures the operational readiness of the Igla-S system.
    • 9F719-2 Test Set: Another maintenance equipment that aids in testing and verifying the functionality of the Igla-S system's components.
  • Effective Range and Altitude:
    • Range: The Igla-S system has an effective range of up to 6 kilometers, allowing engagement of targets at considerable distances.
    • Altitude: The system's optimal altitude for effectively destroying targets is limited to 3.5 kilometers.
  • Guidance System:
    • Infrared Homing: The Igla-S system's guidance relies on infrared homing technology, allowing it to track and lock onto heat-emitting targets such as aircraft, helicopters, and other airborne threats.
  • Versatility in Target Engagement:
    • Target Types: Apart from low-flying aircraft, the Igla-S system is designed to identify and neutralize a variety of air targets, including cruise missiles and drones.
  • Other Identifiers:
    • Western Designation: Known in the West as SA-24 Grinch, the Igla-S system is recognized under this designation.

Design and Components

  • Missile Characteristics: The Igla-S is a shoulder-fired, infrared homing surface-to-air missile system designed to engage low-flying aircraft, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
  • Guidance System: It employs an infrared homing guidance system, using the thermal radiation emitted by the target to track and lock on before intercepting.
  • Warhead: The missile is equipped with a high-explosive fragmentation warhead capable of causing significant damage upon impact.
  • Launch Tube and Firing Mechanism: It consists of a launch tube, a grip-stock with the sighting device, and a firing mechanism that allows for quick and efficient firing.

Key Features

  • Portability: Igla-S is designed to be easily carried and operated by a single operator. Its portability makes it suitable for infantry units, providing them with air defense capabilities in the battlefield.
  • Countermeasure Resistance: The system is equipped with countermeasure resistance, which means it has measures to resist electronic countermeasures and decoy flares deployed by the targeted aircraft.
  • All-Weather Capability: It is designed to be effective in various weather conditions, including day and night operations.

Operational Deployment

  • Military Use: The Igla-S has been widely used by numerous countries and armed forces around the world. It serves as a crucial component in the air defense systems of infantry units and provides them with increased survivability against aerial threats.

Advancements and Variants

  • Advancements: The Igla-S system represents an improvement over its predecessors, featuring enhanced capabilities in terms of accuracy, range, and resistance to countermeasures.
  • Variants: Different variants of the Igla series, such as Igla, Igla-1, and Igla-S, have been developed with incremental improvements in technology and performance.

Importance and Challenge

  • Strategic Significance: MANPADS like Igla-S play a vital role in modern warfare by providing infantry units with the capability to defend against aerial threats independently.
  • Security Concerns: However, the proliferation of MANPADS also raises concerns regarding their potential misuse or falling into the hands of non-state actors or terrorists, leading to security risks for civil aviation.


The Igla-S anti-aircraft missile system stands as a formidable and effective air defense solution, enhancing the capabilities of ground forces against aerial threats. Its portability, countermeasure resistance, and all-weather capabilities make it a significant asset in modern military operations.


Q. Discuss the significance and challenges associated with Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) in the context of contemporary warfare. Also, evaluate the measures required to prevent the proliferation and misuse of such systems globally. (250 Words)