India has reportedly scrapped a $500-million deal with Israel for the purchase of Spike anti-tank missiles from defence contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems after indigenous developer Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) claimed that it could deliver an alternative within two years.
According to reports, India has notified Israel that it will “abandon” the agreement to purchase Spike missiles from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, government sources told the Indian Express.
“Israel has been informed about the contract being abandoned in favor of DRDO, which claimed that it was developing a similar missile at a lower price in partnership with VEM Technologies Ltd,” the report said.
The decision was followed after a series of successful trials of the man-portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM) by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
If reports are to be believed, then the Defence Ministry opted for DRDO as it would fulfil the government’s “Make-in-India” initiative. The ministry, said officials, now prefers a home-grown anti-tank missile rather than depend on time-consuming imports.
DRDO tested an indigenously-designed man-portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM) it had produced in conjunction with VEM Technologies, Ltd. at its Ahmednagar test range in Maharashtra in September 2018 and now claims it can deliver the weapon by 2021.
This is the second time that the half-a-billion-dollar contract for some 8,000 Spike missiles, initially signed in 2014, is being revised.
India pulled out of the deal in 2017, but reopened the order the following year under new terms in which contracts for 5,000 missiles would go to domestic manufacturers, while the remaining 3,000 units would be awarded to Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.