In a move to promote indigenous missile systems, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) has decided to cancel a deal with an Israeli company for the procurement of $500 million worth Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM). The deal was originally seen as a way to increase cooperation between India and Israel in defense technology. Price negotiations with the Israeli defense technology company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems got over last year.
According to many reports, Rafael has already entered into a joint venture with an Indian missile technology firm in anticipation of the deal. The company has also set up a manufacturing facility near Hyderabad for producing missile subsystems. The company is yet to provide its response with regard to the cancellation of the deal. In favour of this deal, the MoD has earlier rejected a bid from Lockheed Martin for the procurement of Javelin ATGM.
According to sources inside the Ministry, importing ATGMs from other countries at this stage would slow down the indigenous development of missile weapons by the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). By scrapping the deal, MoD expects to promote the advancement of indigenous weapons for the armed forces.
The Spike MPATGM is one of the advanced versions of missile systems available in this category. The original bid by the MoD was for the third generation of Spike missile, which has both day fighting and night fighting capabilities. The missile has a range of 2.5 km, and it can be operated by an individual. India currently uses second generation missiles namely Konkurs and Milan 2T, which do not have night fighting capabilities.
The DRDO has already experienced success with its ATGMs Nag and Anamika. The organisation is also hopeful that it can develop 3rd generation MPATGMs within a reasonable period of time. In about three to four years, it expects to match the capability of Spike without any need for technology transfer.