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By Bulbul Singh

24 Sep 13. The U.S. offer to India to jointly develop and produce the Javelin Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) has run into rough weather within days of the formal offer being made by visiting US Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter on September 16, ahead of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the U.S. on September 27th, because the Indian Army says they would prefer joint development of all the Javelin variants.

The Indian Army has conveyed to the Indian defence ministry that the proposal to jointly develop and produce the Javelin should not be restricted to only the 2.5 kilometers range version as the opportunity should be clinched to get all Javelin variants with ranges up to 4.5 kilometers including latest improvements.

The Indian Army needs over 20,000 new generation ATGMs and the order worth $3 billion for the purchase of Israeli Spike ATGM from Rafael of Israel was cancelled earlier this year after the Indian defence minister received complaints about possible kick backs. The Indian Army says they should enter the global market on Fast Track basis to buy new generation ATGMs and not depend on license-produced French Milan and Russian Konkurs. Negotiations are still underway between U.S. and Indian defense ministry officials on the proposal to produce Lockheed Martin-Raytheon Javelin along with India’s DRDO. A team from Raytheon briefed Indian defence ministry and DRDO officials this month on the proposal.

However, given the Indian Army’s choice for a wider range of ATGMs from the Javelin, the U.S. unlikely to agree to the full range. “It is unlikely that the agreement could be reached ahead of Manmohan Singh’s visit to the United States, said a source in the Indian defence ministry.”

In 2010, India came very close to purchasing the Javelin with a range of 2.5 kilometers and a Letter of Request was sent to the U.S. government for the purchase of the Javelin under FMS along with Transfer of Technology. However, the U.S. refused the transfer of technology and the proposal fell through.

The missile was demonstrated in a live firing practice, scoring a bull’s eye, during the Indo-US Yudh Abhyas exercise in October 2009. The Indian Army has yet to receive the indigenous Nag ATGM produced by DRDO, which is a 93lb missile with an 18lb warhead, is fire and forget and moves at 230 meters a second for up to 6,000 meters. The Nag is a top attack missile and will be mounted on armored vehicles and is not hand-held as the Javelin or Spike.

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