Israeli defense exports to India worth an estimated $5 billion are likely following the closure of the Barak-I missile bribery investigation against Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and RAFAEL for want of evidence.
Had the investigation gone through it would have meant sanctions and blacklisting of the two companies which rank among India’s biggest defense hardware exporters.
Israel which already takes home about $1 billion in arms sales each year is likely to get a further $5 billion in new contracts of which an approximate $3.5 billion is for known contracts.
The Indian MoD is finalizing a decision on the procurement of 8400 Spike anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) worth $1.5 billion. The DAC is expected to reach a decision soon, according to various reports.
The two countries continue to work on several projects together including the project with the DRDO to develop long-range surface-to-air missile (LR-SAM) system worth $424 million and a medium-range SAM system worth $1.64 billion for Indian warships and the air force respectively. However, these major projects have consistently been delayed.
According to reports, India has expressed its interest in acquiring Israel’s advanced missile defense systems, the Iron Dome, under a possible "buy and build" deal to which the two countries have agreed to the deal although there is no official word yet.
India is also keen on procuring Israel's Arrow-2 anti-ballistic missile system manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries and the Boeing Co. of the United States. The status on this deal is still under wraps.
Israeli components, which are already widely used to build “indigenous weapons”, may further expand.
India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and the Israeli Aerospace Industries have entered into joint development programmes to manufacture Chetak helicopters into ship-borne UAVs, and the Indian Navy has placed an order for eight such machines.
According to reports, high-tech systems production collaboration for Indian soldiers in a contract worth $30 million is in works. Israel and India’s DRDO will produce a variety of systems related to command and control, battlefield management, sensors and weapons, according to a proposal.
Israel has played a key role in helping India’s host of in indigenous projects including the Tejas LCA which is only 60 percent made in India with an American engine, British ejection seat, Canadian canopy sheath and Israeli-made EL/M-2052 active electronically scanned array Elta radar.
The Arjun main battle tank is just about 45% made in India with its main laser guided missile being the Israeli LAHAT. The missile firing control system, laser target designator, engine transmission, suspension unit and running gear (track) are all foreign.
Meanwhile, India plans to build and upgrade Russian-made T-90 tanks with the latest technology from Israel, Poland and Russia by the end of 2020.