News India scrapped a $500 million deal for the purchase of Spike anti-tank missiles from Israel's state-run Rafale Advanced Defense Systems after Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) promises to deliver Indian made alternative in two years. More in News
- Israel authorities were informed by the Indian officials about the contract being annulled in favour of DRDO as it claimed that with a partnership with VEM technologies Ltd, it would develop a similar missile at a lower price
- Domestic production of the missile was favoured as DRDO’s effort in creating a man-portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM) was “progressing fast” with the second stage of testing concluded.
- The DRDO claimed it successfully test-fired the MPATGM at the Ahmednagar range last September.
- DRDO offered to deliver thousands of indigenous MPATGM by 2021
- Although army officials were sceptical of DRDO’s claim on meeting its promised deadline and operational requirements, the Defence Ministry opted for DRDO as it would fulfill the government’s “Make-in-India” initiative.
Man-portable anti-tank systems
- In October 2014, India had struck a deal with Israel for the purchase of 321 Spike launchers and 8.356 missiles. But favouring DRDO, the deal was cancelled in December 2017.
- However, following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India in January 2018, the deal was re-authorized.
- The decision was also influenced by the setup of Rafael’s production factory in India in August 2017, with local partner Kalyani Group.
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- Man-portable anti-tank systems (MANPATS or MPATS) are shoulder-launched anti-tank rockets.
- They are typically unguided weapons and are a threat to armored vehicles, low-flying aircraft (especially helicopters), and field fortifications.
- Generally, MANPATS fall into three distinct categories.
- The first consist of a small, disposable preloaded launch tube firing a high explosive anti-tank warhead operated by a single soldier.
- The second is a firing system onto/into which a rocket is loaded, operated by a single soldier.
- The third are manufactured prepacked and issued as a single unit of ammunition with the launcher discarded after a single use.