|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Mar 29, 2017 09:37 AM EDT|
(Photo : Rafael) Spike ATGM.
India has approved a deal to purchase Spike anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems of Israel in a move to upgrade the ATGMs deployed by infantry units of the Indian Army from second-generation to fourth-generation.
The contract is worth over $1 billion and will see India purchase 321 Spike ATGM launchers; 8,356 missiles; 15 training simulators and associated accessories from Rafael, a defense technology company that develops and produces weapons, military, and defense technologies for the Israel Defense Forces and for export.
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It also includes an option to build 1,500 launcher systems and about 30,000 additional missiles under technology transfer to state-owned Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL). The first delivery of the Spike ATGM is likely to being 58 to 60 months after the deal is signed, probably in May.
An official of the Ministry of Defense said the ministry has now forwarded the deal to the Cabinet Committee of Security, which is likely to clear the deal this week. The Cabinet Committee of Security is the highest body in the Indian government and is responsible for weapons purchases for the Indian Armed Forces.
The acquisition of the highly-regarded Spike ATGM comes at a time when the Indian Army continues to grapple with a lack of the latest fourth generation ATGMs. The army is grievously short of fourth-generation ATGMs and needs over 40,000 of these weapons in the next 20 years.
Indian Army infantry is currently armed with the second-generation MILAN light ATGM that entered French Army Service in 1972, and Russia's 9M113 Konkurs ATGM, which became operational with the Russian Army in 1974.
Both ATGMs, however, are produced by BDL under license from France's MBDA and Russia's Tula Machinery Design Bureau.
Spike is an Israeli fourth-generation, man-portable fire-and-forget ATGM and anti-personnel missile with a tandem-charge HEAT warhead. Some 25,600 missiles of the Spike family have been sold to 25 nations by 2016.
Spike uses a tandem warhead: a precursor shaped charge warhead to detonate explosive reactive armor (ERA) and a primary warhead to penetrate the underlying armor. Spike is replacing ageing second- generation anti-tank missiles like the MILAN and the M47 Dragon in the armies of the user nations.
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