Amid ongoing efforts to further boost ties between India and Israel, the defence ministry on Friday will decide on an army proposal worth over Rs 2,000 crore to buy around 5,000 Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Tel Aviv, which will meet the urgent requirement of these missiles for the force.
"To meet the immediate requirements of the infantry battalions of the army, a high-level meeting of the defence ministry chaired by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to discuss the army proposal on buying Spike missiles for the force," a senior government source told MAIL TODAY.
As per the proposal listed for the meeting, the government will also consider buying 500 launchers and around 20 simulators for the weapon systems which will be used by the infantry battalions for taking down enemy tanks, the sources said. The same meeting is also scheduled to discuss another army proposal to equip its armoured forces with 300 Made in India Nag anti-tank guided missiles in a proposal worth around Rs 300 crore.
These will also include around 30 NAMICA carriers based on the chassis of a BMP infantry combat vehicle. The government sources said the Spikes would be meeting the immediate requirement of the army, while the remaining largescale requirements would be met by the manportable ATGMs, to be produced by DRDO in future as was first reported by MAIL TODAY.
The Army needs third generation ATGMs, with a strike range of over 2.5 km and fire-and-forget capabilities, to equip all its 382 infantry battalions and 44 mechanised infantry units, which will carry them on their Russian BMP combat vehicles. Sources said that this combination of buying from abroad and allowing 'Make in India' at the same time will balance the need for taking care of national security requirements along with the need to promote the indigenous industry.
In the earlier competition for ATGMs, India had also tried one American fire-and-forget ATGM, but that offer was rejected due to unacceptable terms. Spike missile is a third generation, fire-and-forget, top attack ATGM with a range of 2.5 km, which can operate both during day and night against an incoming enemy tank regiment.
The army is currently using second generation Konkurs and Milan 2T ATGMs, which do not have night-fighting capabilities. According to reports, the army currently has a shortage of around 68,000 missiles, with no missiles held as War Wastage Reserves against a government stipulation to build up stocks to last for at least 10 days of intense fighting.
The Spike missiles are being procured by the army after an earlier tender for these weapons was withdrawn. After the NDA government came in power, extensive push is being given to 'Make in India' in defence sector for meeting requirements. The high-level defence ministry meeting is also likely to discuss a DRDO proposal to develop two indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), under which the major investment will be made by the research agency. The navy is also likely to move a proposal worth around Rs 3,000 crore for buying 127 mm naval warship guns for the surface vessels of the force.