The Indian defense ministry has officially cancelled a $500 million deal to buy Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Israeli Rafael.
“Rafael has received an official statement from the Indian Ministry of Defense on the cancellation of the Spike missile deal,” read a statement from the company, adding that it had been canceled before the signing of the contract and despite the company fulfilling all of the necessary requirements, Jpost reported Tuesday.
Less than two weeks before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to visit India, New Delhi has officially cancelled the deal.
According to the company, the Spike was selected as a winner for the tender “after a long and lengthy process and according to all Indian procurement rules.” It added that the production facility the company opened in August with its local partner, industrial giant Kalyani Group near Hyderabad, will not be closed.
Rafael, which was slated to provide India with some 8,000 Spike missiles and more than 300 launchers, will still take part in Netanyahu’s three-day trip to New Delhi beginning on January 14.
While Rafael only got the official notice on Tuesday, rumors of the cancellation began to swirl in November.
The Indian Express newspaper quoted Defense Ministry sources as saying the decision to cancel the deal was based on the fact that importing the Spike would “adversely impact the program for indigenous development of the weapon system by DRDO [India’s Defense Research and Development Organization].”
It added that India had also rejected an offer from US-based Raytheon-Lockheed Martin for the sale of Javelin anti-tank guided missiles.
Rafael has four missiles in the Spike family, Spike NLOS, Spike ER, Spike MR/LR and Spike SR. It has supplied over 27,000 Spike missiles and systems to 26 countries, including the Philippines, Lithuania, Australia and India, where they are used by armies on various naval- and land-system platforms.
The ministry has approved buying a $70M deal to buy 131 surface-to-air Barak missiles from Rafael for its first carrier aircraft.