India Favours DRDO, Scraps Deal With Israel On Anti-Tank Missile
DRDO offered to deliver thousands of MPATGM , almost the time it would take Rafael to deliver its Strike missiles
India has dismissed a 500-million dollar deal with Israel for the purchase of spike anti-tank missiles from defense contractor Rafael Advanced Defense System on 24 June. The decision comes in after in-house developer Defense Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) said that it could deliver a cheaper alternative within two years.
According to government officials, Israel has been informed about the deal being scrapped to favour DRDO, that has claimed it was working on a similar missile at a much lower price in collaboration with VEM Technologies limited, reported The Indian Express.
DRDO Chosen Over Rafael
A fast progress in DRDO’s man-portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM), was a huge reason for India to sign DRDO on board for the deal. DRDO claimed it successfully test-fired the MPATGM at the Ahmednagar range last September.
Although army officials were sceptical of DRDO’s claim on meeting its promised deadline and operational requirements, the Defence Ministry opted for DRDO as it would fulfill the government’s “Make-in-India” initiative. The ministry, said officials, now prefer a home-grown anti-tank missile rather than depend on time-consuming imports.
DRDO offered to deliver thousands of indigenous MPATGM by 2021, almost the time it would take Rafael to deliver its strike missiles.
In October 2014, India had struck a deal with Israel for the purchase of 321 Spike launchers and 8.356 missiles. But favouring DRDO, the deal was cancelled in December 2017.
However, following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India in January 2018, the deal was re-authorized. The decision was also influenced by the setup of Rafael’s production factory in India in August 2017, with local partner Kalyani Group.
(With Inputs from The Indian Express)
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