India is to buy surface-to-air missiles from Israel and precision bombs from Russia in deals worth $270 million, the Indian ministry of defense said in a press release.
India’s Raksha Mantri (defence minister) Nirmala Sitharaman approved the purchase of “131 Barak Missiles and associated equipment, under option clause” from Israel’s Rafael at a cost of 460 crore rupees ($72.5 million), the Tuesday, January 2 release said. “These missiles are surface to air missiles designed to be used as a ship-borne anti-missile defence system against anti-ship missiles.”
The missiles are to be deployed on India’s first indigenously built aircraft carrier which is currently under construction, AFP reported.
It is unclear which version of the missile is to be purchased.
The land- or sea-based Barak 8 air defense missile was jointly developed by India’s Defence Research & Development Organisation along with various Israeli organisations including Rafael, Israel Aerospace Industries and Israel’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure. It is designed to defend against airborne threats including aircraft, helicopters, drones, anti-ship missiles, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.
The most recent test of the missile was on November 29.
The earlier Barak 1 missile is already used on a number of Indian warships including INS Vikramaditya, a 1980s-era ex-Soviet aircraft carrier.
In April 2017, India and Israel signed a deal worth around $2 billion which includes medium-range surface-to-air missiles. It is unclear whether Tuesday’s deal is part of the earlier package.
The announcement comes ahead of a planned mid-January four-day visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will lead a business delegation to India, i24 News reported.
In November, media reported that the Indian ministry of defence had decided to scrap a $500 million deal with Israel to procure Spike Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missiles in favour of an indigenously developed and produced system.
The decision is in line with Modi’s ‘Make In India’ strategy to include significant transfer of technology in defense deals, encouraging foreign investment in joint ventures to produce military hardware in India.
Russian precision bombs
Sitharaman also approved the procurement of 240 precision-guided bombs for the Indian Air Force from Russia’s Rosoboronexport, at a cost of 1,254 crore rupees ($197.7 million), the release said. “This procurement will address the deficiency of Precision Guided Munitions in the IAF arsenal, besides enhancing the offensive capabilities of the IAF.”