India, Israel to jointly develop missile for Army
Ahead of the likely visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel in June, India has approved a deal to jointly develop a medium range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM) system for the Army in a ₹17,000-crore deal.
This is the latest in a series of other variants of SAM systems for the Navy and the Air Force being jointly developed with Israeli help under deals estimated at billions of dollars.
- The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by Mr. Modi, at a meeting, gave the go-ahead for the deal to be executed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI).
- The deal is for 200 missiles for five regiments, each getting 40 units. The missile has a range of 50-70 km.
- The system will be based on the older Barak system of Israel, which is in use in India. It is being changed as per requirements.
- The systems will be manufactured in India and would have an 80% indigenous content.
- The DRDO would play a crucial role in developing the target homing system. Deliveries would begin in 2023.
- The two countries are also in an advanced stage of negotiations for the purchase of two more long-range Phalcon Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS).
- The CCS had approved the deal for additional AWACS last year that is expected to cost ₹7,500 crore.
- India now operates three Phalcon AWACS with Israeli radars mounted on Russian IL-76 transport aircraft, under a $1-billion tripartite deal with Russia, signed in 2003.
- Russian officials said at the recent Aero India that India had ordered two IL-76 aircraft to be converted to AWACS.
- They were hopeful of a deal during Mr. Modi’s visit, and added that discussions were on for additional long-range drones.
- India and Israel have stepped up their defence relations since Mr. Modi came to power.