JERUSALEM — Israel Aerospace Industries announced two deals worth a total of $1.3 billion with India between Oct. 24 and 29. One deal will see IAI outfit the Indian Army with the Sky Capture air defense system, a contract worth $550 million. In addition, IAI will provide $777 million worth of Barak 8 missile defense systems, known as LRSAM in India, for seven ships.
Boaz Levy, IAI’s executive vice president and general manager of the Systems Missiles and Space Group, said the deals represent important sales of two different systems that show IAI and India are learning to closely work together. “We are speaking the same language,” he said.
The contract to outfit the ships with missile defense systems is with Bharat Electronics Limited. The contract builds on $2.5 billion in deals signed last year, including for the delivery of the first Barak 8 missile manufactured in India as part of an IAI collaboration. It will take up to several years to install the latest system.
The other deal for Sky Capture involves a command-and-control system for anti-aircraft systems, radar and electro-optical systems, which can be used to confront short-range targets. Currently this envisions a $550 million deal that will be provided to the Army for 40mm guns. It’s a “family of air defense,” Levy stressed, meaning that it could also use its Elta radar and Tamam electro-optical capability to aim an effector for man-portable air-defense systems or a missile.
The deals are part of a growing relationship between Israel and India based on defense systems. This includes deals to produce medium-range surface-to-air missiles signed in 2017 and other missile-related agreements for India’s Navy, such as a $630 million contract with Bharat Electronics in May 2017.
IAI had been on a restricted blacklist in India until April this year, but Israel is still one of India’s largest arms suppliers.
In January, India canceled a deal with Rafael to develop Spike anti-tank missiles, but Levy is confident in the current contracts and said he hasn’t experienced any problems in India.
Seth J. Frantzman is the Israel correspondent for Defense News. He has covered conflict in the Mideast since 2010 for different publications. He has experience covering the international coalition against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, and he is a co-founder and executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis.