Israel’s Spike had won the global bid in 2014 but could not sign the final contract with India due to a single-vendor situation. Now, India’s state-owned defense firm DRDO is locally producing anti-tank guided missiles that match the requirements of the Indian armed forces.
New Delhi (Sputnik) — India has decided not to purchase the Spike anti-tank guided missile systems from Israel. The decision comes in the wake of the successful development trials of the Nag anti-tank missile system locally designed and developed by the state-owned Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in September this year. Last year, an experts’ committee appointed by the defense ministry had recommended development of an indigenous missile system, acting on which the DRDO had expedited the development trials of the Nag-anti tank missile systems. The DRDO has now been asked to develop and produce man-portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM) for the Army.
“In 2015, the Indian defense ministry had sanctioned the design and development of man-portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM) system comprising of 3rd generation anti-tank guided missile with launch tube, and launcher with command launch unit. We hope, the system will be available to the Army by 2020,” a defense source told Sputnik.
The Indian MPATGM will have a range of 2.5 kilometers. Eight static tests of rocket motor were conducted to achieve consistent ballistic performance last year.
As India and Israel had completed the price negotiation last year, Israel’s Rafael Defence Systems Ltd and India’s Kalyani Group forged a joint venture to jointly produce the Spike missiles. Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems Pvt. Ltd (KRAS), as the joint venture is called, aims to supply the missiles not only to the Indian armed forces but also export them to South East Asian countries like Myanmar, Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia.
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Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Company had also entered into a deal with India’s Tata Power for the co-development and production of Javelin anti-armor missile system last September. However, DRDO claimed that Nag missile was far superior to Javelin of the US and Israeli Spike missile. However, experts are of the opinion that DRDO along would not be able to fulfill the entire requirement of missiles by the Indian Armed Forces.
“Unless DRDO pass on that technology to a major private sector player the quantity/numbers produced by the state-owned firm will be so less that it will take a quarter of a century to produce the numbers required. It is a sad irony that we need equipment but neither produce it nor let it be procured from elsewhere in time,” Brigadier Rumel Dahiya (retired), a Delhi based defense analysts told to Sputnik.
The Indian Army says it requires at least 40,000 anti-tank guided missiles in the next 20 years.