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By Bulbul Singh

09 Jun 10. After negotiating for over a year to procure U.S. made Javelin Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM), the Indian defence ministry has now decided to buy these ATGMs on competitive basis from the global market. The Javelin ATGMs were proposed to be bought from the United States on government-to-government basis, but sources said, “Technology transfer has become an obstacle and the Indian defence ministry has chosen to enter the global market.”

Formal requests have been sent to half a dozen global defence companies in the USA, Europe and Russia to buy over 300 ATGM systems with a similar configuration to the Javelin.

The ATGM’s along with the missile launchers will be part-produced by a designated Indian defence company.

Along with the missile launchers, missile training simulators are also being acquired from the global market.

The Indian Army Requirement includes the ability of the ATGMs to have an effective range of not less than 2.5 kilometers with thermal sights with a hit probability of not less than 90% by day and night. The ATGMs should have third generation active/passive guidance systems with fire and forget, top attack capability, the ability to be launched from vehicle or ground and should be man-portable over short distances.

The system should have a unit to indicate IR interference and should comply with EMC interference and compatibility parameters.

The system should have adequate safety devices during handling and transportation by road, rail or air.

The ATGM system will include the launcher with tripod and bipod, thermal and optical sights, a container and light vehicle for the launcher. The Indian Army will use these third-generation ATGMs for the infantry and as such the missile they should weigh not more than 15kgs, the launcher and optical sight should also be not less than 15 kgs. The calibre of the missile should be between 115mm to 155mm. The ATGM should be capable of detecting targets at a range of not less than 4.5kms, recognized at a range of not less 3.5kms and identify at range of not less than 2.5kms.

In 2006 the Indian Army went on a global hunt to purchase ATGMs and tenders were issued to MBDA, Raytheon, Rafael and Rosoboronoexport. While Raytheon could not get government clearance, the competition boiled down to only Rafael which emerged as the winner. However, Spike failed in trials held in 2008 by the Indian Army. During technical evaluation only Rafael was short-listed on single vendor because no other ATGM was found suitable for the special forces.

“The Spike failed in both the hot and cold trials,” said a senior Indian Army official. “Ever since have been asking the Indian defence ministry to buy the Javelin.”

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