Indian Army plans to buy Medium Range Precision Kill System with loitering munitions

According to Indian media, the Indian Army is planning to buy 10 sets of Medium-Range Precision Kill System (MRPKS), comprising 120 loitering munitions to destroy enemy targets with precision and minimum collateral damage. The 120 loitering munitions will help artillery units to detect, engage, strike and destroy static and moving targets with precision.
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The Indian Air Force currently uses the Harop Loitering Munition System from Israel Aerospace Industries. (Picture source: IAI)

The Army said there is an urgent requirement to procure MRPKS capable of day and night acquisition and precision engagement of targets. Medium Range Precision Kill System (MRPKS) are unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV) that can provide a breakthrough against dynamic and well-protected static targets by real-time acquisition and precision strike. The munitions can loiter in the sky close to the designated target and provide real-time imagery to the operator on the ground. When directed, these loitering munitions can attack the designated target by self-destructing into it, hence their nickname of "suicide drones".

The Army’s Request for Information for 10 launchers and 30 advanced observation stations clearly stated that the weapon system should be indigenously designed and the ‘Indian vendors’ will have to participate in the Make II Category for development and procurement of 10 sets of MRPKS under Buy Indian (IDDM) category of Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 (DAP-2020).

Characteristics requested for the MRPKS:
Range: 40 Km
Accuracy: 5 meters CEP
Operational altitude: 4,000 meters or more
Warhead weight: 8 kg
Warhead types: High Explosive Pre-Fragmented (HEPF) and anti-armour
Endurance: minimum 2 hours
Loitering altitude: capability to loiter above ground level at a minimum altitude of 1,000 meters

In September 2021, the Indian Army inked a contract to acquire 120 payload-capable Israeli 'SkyStriker' drones which will be manufactured in Bengaluru by Adani's Alpha Design in collaboration with Elbit Systems. The Israeli company describes SkyStriker as a "silent, invisible and surprise attacker, that delivers the utmost in precision and reliability, providing a critical advantage in the modern battlefield". The SkyStriker can reach a distance of 20 km in less than 10 minutes. The total range for the system is around 100 km, sources said. According to Elbit, it can loiter and pursue a target for up to two hours with a 5 kg warhead or up to one hour with a 10 kg warhead. At maximum speed (100 knots), SkyStriker can reach a distance of 20 km within 6.5 minutes, reducing the loitering time by 15 minutes.

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Launching of a Harop Loitering Munition System (Picture source: IAI)