India Today decided to buy an Israeli anti-tank missile, ‘Spike’ for INR 3200 crore (US$520 million approx) while rejecting the offer of the Raytheon-Lockheed Martin ‘Javelin’ missile.
The defence acquisition council (DAC) of the Indian MOD approved the purchase of the Israeli missile made by Rafael which has offered to co-produce the missile in India along with transfer of technology.
Just weeks before today’s DAC decision, the US had offered to discuss technology transfer and co-production. US defence secretary Chuck Hagel had come to New Delhi in a last-ditch attempt to hardsell the missile quoting the new impetus to Indo-US ties following the visit of Indian PM Modi to Washington.
Earlier the US had sought that India sign certain agreements which control the end-use of the missile which India had refused. Subsequenty the US had offered to "relax" certain foreign military sales rules to sweeten the deal.
The deal with Rafael will include 8,356 Spike anti-tank guided missile and 321 launchers. The missile will be initially brought to India in a knocked down condition and assembled here. Subsequently it would be made in India under transfer of technology (ToT) to Bharat Dynamics Limited, a government owned company.
The Indian army needs about 40000 missile to equip the Army's 382 infantry battalions and 44 mechanised infantry units.
The final take for Rafael could be to the tune of US$1.5 billion.
Spike is a man-portable 'fire and forget' anti-tank missile that locks on to its target. It can be used against tanks and armoured personnel carriers. Its competitor, Javelin is one of the most successful man portable missiles in the international market having been sold to several US allies.