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By Bulbul Singh

18 Mar 11. The Indian Army is buying the Israeli Spike Third Generation Anti-tank Guided Missile (ATGM) in addition to the Javelin ATGM from the United States on government-to-government basis and also the indigenous Nag ATGM. While the contract for buying Javelin is still in the final stages and not signed, the contract for buying Spike has been approved. A $1 billion deal for buying Spike has been awarded to Rafael of Israel.

Whilst Spike will be mounted on the BMP-2 infantry combat vehicle, the Javelin will be used by Indian Army troops.

The Indian Army was forced to award the contract to Rafael as nearly five years of hunting in the global market for an advanced ATGM for the BMP-2 on a Technology Transfer basis was not available. Global tenders were first sent in 2006 and again in 2010 to several overseas defence companies, only Rafael gave a proposal which agreed to transfer the technology.

The tender was close to cancellation once again, as only one company was in competition, thus, the Indian Army pushed hard for the award of the tender to Rafael. Bids were sent to MBDA, Raytheon, Rafael and Rosoboronexport of Russia.

The Indian Army will purchase Spike, including missile launchers, missiles and training simulators from Rafael. Spike will be delivered to India in fully formed, semi-formed and then license-produced in India at a later stage.

Spike will have a range of over 2.5 kilometres and will have third generation guidance systems with active/passive guidance system with fire and forget and top-attack capability.

In addition, Rafael of Israel has given the transfer of technology to India for the Nag, Nag now has an Israeli seeker head. After being denied the seeker head technology by Thales of France, as Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) had tied up with Rafael to provide the seeker heads. The Nag will replace the existing Russian Konkours and Euromissile Milan missiles. The Indian Army in 2010 ordered the purchase of 443 Nag ATGM missiles. DRDO has also begun work on extending the range of the Nag missile for the air version which will be mounted on Indian made helicopters.

In a written reply in the Lok Sabha on August 16 2010, the Union Defence Minister AK Antony had informed that his Ministry is planning to issue a Letter of Request to the US for procurement of Javelin. The procurement is being planned under the U.S. under the FMS route and would involve transfer of technology.

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