The Indian Army is again considering purchasing Rafael's Spike anti-tank guided missile systems, shown here firing from a Rafael-made Samson remote weapon station. (Rafael)
NEW DELHI — The Israeli-built Spike anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) is back on the Indian Army’s acquisition agenda. The potential purchase of the missile arose during a Nov. 11 meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), which likely will take up the issue again when it meets later this month, an Indian Defence Ministry source said.
The purchase of the Spike was put on hold in April as it was a single-vendor procurement from Israeli company Rafael. But the Indian Army is in a hurry to get advanced ATGMs.
The renewed interest in the Spike is unlikely to affect a US proposal to jointly produce the Javelin ATGM with India, the Defence Ministry source said, because the Army needs more than 20,000 advanced ATGMs. The Spike, if purchased, will be vehicle-mounted, the source said, while the Javelin will be man-portable.
The Army currently depends on Konkurs M and Milan ATGMs, which are less than 2,000 meters in range.
The Indian Army’s 2010 request for proposals (RfPs) for advanced ATGMs went to Rafael, Paris-based MBDA, US companies Raytheon and General Dynamics and Russia’s Rosoboronoexport. Only Rafael responded to the tender; the other companies balked at India’s technology-transfer requirements.
The Indian Army now proposes to buy third-generation Spike ATGM systems including 321 missile launchers, 8,356 missiles and 15 training simulators and associated accessories, along with transfer of technology. The Army would mount the Spikes on its Russian-made BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles.
US Deputy Defence Secretary Ash Carter formally proposed the joint development of the Javelin during a September visit to India. The Americans have agreed to sell about 6,000 man-portable Javelins to India within six to eight months of a contract signing, and for future needs the US can explore co-production of the missile and later work on the co-development of an ATGM tailored for India. The Americans have also agreed to transfer technology including the special process for manufacturing the Javelin’s warhead, rocket motor, propellant, guidance and seeker, but no algorithms for guidance, which an Indian Army official said is the core to any guidance system.
A team from Raytheon and Lockheed Martin has already briefed Defence Ministry officials on the possibilities of joint development of the Javelin.
India also is developing its own ATGM, the Nag.