India scraps mega Israeli deal for anti-tank missiles in favor of DRDO product

US Army demonstration of Javelin anti-tank missile

The government of India has canceled Rs 3,300 cr order for 8,356 Spike anti-tank missiles that was to be produced in India by Bharat Dynamics Ltd, a government of India enterprise, in association with an Israeli company.

The anti-tank missiles were supposed to be have been produced with transfer of technology from Israel-based Spike. Preliminary approval for the deal was given in June 2009 and a ‘request for proposal’ (akin to a tender) was issued in April 2010.

However, said defence minister Nirmala Seetharaman, the government has ‘retracted’ the request for proposal for the missiles as on Dec 20, 2017.

This, she said, was done after the Defence Research and Development Organization was successful in creating an indigenous anti-tank missile that can be manufactured without the aid of any technology licensing from foreign companies.

“On account of indigenous development of 3rd Generation Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) system by Defence Research & Development Organization, it was, inter alia, decided that there is no need to acquire ToT with the ATGM system,” Seetharam said.

The MPATGM, which weighs around 20 kg, can be used by Infantry Battalions against Armoured vehicles up to 2.5km in range and will replace the Soviet-era anti-tank missiles used by Indian army. It will compete with units such as the US’ Javelin missiles (picture above).

India is estimated to require about 80,000 anti-tank missiles. The DRDO variant, meanwhile, is expected to complete final testing this year.