Pakistan Set to Buy Russian Surface-to-Air Missiles to Boost Defence – Report

The urgency to purchase new air defence systems arose after the Indian airstrike in Balakot during which over a dozen Mirage 2000 aircraft of Indian Air Force crossed the border and destroyed alleged terror infrastructure inside Pakistan, the media outlet reports.

New Delhi (Sputnik) – Pakistan is set to finalise a multi-million defence deal with Russia in which it may buy surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and anti-artillery weapon systems, ZeeNews reported on Wednesday citing an Indian defence official.

A Pakistan defence team will visit Pakistan to finalise the purchase plan of Russian-made Pantsir air defence systems from Moscow, added the report.

“Pakistan is buying the latest and modernised weapons system to counter India. Pakistan is eyeing to procure tanks to anti-aircraft guns and surface-to-air missile system from Russia,” an Indian Defence Ministry official told the Zee News TV channel.

The Pantsir, a self-propelled combined gun/missile system that is mounted on 8×8 trucks, is designed for the air defence of small military units and areas against enemy aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and precision guided weapons. It is also used to reinforce air defence groupings when repelling massive air attacks.

It has a detection range of 36 km to over 40 km and can destroy enemy targets at distance of 20-30 km. A single truck-mounted system has enough missiles to destroy an entire navy or marine squadron of F/A-18 Hornets.

Russia has already sold this advanced air defence system to the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, and, Syria.

Tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours rose to an unprecedented level following a terrorist attack by the Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) terrorist organisation on an Indian security personnel convoy on 14 February, killing 40 Indian troops in Jammu and Kashmir. India launched an airstrike on 26 February in Pakistan’s Balakot area, targeting apparent terror camps. Pakistan retaliated the following day with airstrikes in India.