Asking the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) to develop and produce a Man-portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM) for the army, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) has decided to cancel the $ 500 million agreement for Spike ATGM with Israel . The agreement, seen as another proof of Israel’s growing cooperation in defense, was expected to be signed after last year’s price negotiations with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems were completed.
Anticipating this deal, Rafael had established a joint venture with the Kalyani group for the production of missiles in India. The missile subsystem manufacturing facility, based near Hyderabad, opened in August.
Ministry sources told The Indian Express that the decision to cancel the agreement was based on the consideration that importing a foreign ATGM at this stage would have an adverse impact on DRDO’s indigenous development program of the weapons system. Previously, India had also rejected an offer from Raytheon-Lockheed Martin, based in the United States, by Javelin ATGM in favor of the Israeli weapons system.
“DRDO has successfully produced the Nag and Anamika ATGMs, and hopes to provide the Army with a third-generation missile technology MPATGM, on a par with Spike, within three or four years, and will not need any technology transfer,” the sources.
The decision to withdraw the Request for Proposal (RFP), however, will be a setback for the Army’s modernization program. In letters to the Ministry of Defense, the Army headquarters had highlighted “the operational urgency of the team”, arguing that the Spike “gives an impetus of greater capacity to the troops deployed in the Line of Control, especially in the current operational scenario.”
The Spike MR missile is a third generation, fire and forget, top attack, ATGM with a range of 2.5 km, which can operate both day and night. Currently, the army is using second generation ATGMs – Konkurs and Milan 2T – that do not have night combat capabilities. On the other hand, the Army currently has a shortage of about 68,000 missiles, without missiles such as Waste of War Reserves against a government stipulation to build reserves that last at least 10 days of intense fighting.
In 2009, the Ministry of Defense accepted the requirement to buy 321 ATGM launchers and 8,356 missiles, with 30 percent compensation and a technology transfer clause. The option of approaching the US was also explored. UU To buy Javelin ATGM, but the US government UU I was not willing to transfer technology. Only Rafael from Israel responded, and the Spike missiles were tested in 2011-12. The ministry accepted the trial evaluation in 2013 and gave authorization for the acquisition of a single provider. Later, the US government UU He tried to offer Javelin’s ATGM with technology transfer, but India chose to go ahead with the Israeli system.
Ministry sources said the trials highlighted a problem with one of the two locator devices in the initiator that led to the constitution of a study group. The study group presented its report in August 2014, and the ministry agreed in October 2014 to acquire Rafael’s missiles.
The price negotiations between Rafael and the Ministry of Defense began in March 2015. After prices were finalized in June 2016, Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar set up an expert committee to review the evaluation report and explore the possibility of an indigenous missile system. There was divergence in the opinions of the representatives of DRDO and the representatives of the Army in the expert committee on the case. The matter was finally resolved earlier this month, and the army headquarters agreed to withdraw the RFP for ATGM launchers and missiles.