Russia is unwilling to provide technology transfer of the Smerch multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) to India, Tribune News reported. The finance ministry has refused to import the same rockets.
The Army has 62 Smerch launchers, which move in squadrons with Strike Crops and have the capacity to hit targets at 70-80 km away, allowing the Infantry and tanks to move forward in case of an assault. These rockets can neutralize enemy troop concentrations, command posts, and artillery and missile locations.
Russia had expressed reservation to meet Indian conditions to indigenize the production of rockets, allowing the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to produce them here. In August 2012, a MoU was signed between the OFB and Russian companies — Rosoboronexport and Splav "SPA" to manufacture five versions of Smerch Rockets, The Tribune reported citing an unknown source.
The finance ministry has turned down the request for fresh rocket imports made by Ministry of Defense saying that the original permission was for local production and a fresh permission has to be sought for importing the rockets.
The Smerchs have been acquired at a cost of $432.4 million. So far, rockets for the launchers are purchased from Russia.