Israel and India Set to Close $3 Billion Arms Deal
In yet another sign of the burgeoning relationship between the two countries, a package of bilateral military deals being hammered out will position Israel as one of India’s top three weapons suppliers, The Jewish Press reported Tuesday. The total value of the package would be $3 billion.
Three of the deals are ready to face a final vote by India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), scheduled to take place before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes his first official visit to Israel later this year. A source with the Indian Defense Ministry said, “It should be cleared by the CCS within a month or so.”
The contracts in question include the sale of 164 Litening-4 navigating and targeting pods, produced by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. These provide “precision strike capability to every fighter aircraft,” according to the manufacturer’s website. In addition, India is set to purchase 250 advanced Spice precision stand-off bombs, capable of an enemy’s fortified underground command centers.
Beyond these, the two countries are still negotiating the price of 321 Spike anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) systems and 8,356 missiles, according to the Economic Times. These have a strike range of 2.5 kilometers (over 1.5 miles) and fire-and-forget capabilities. The goal is to equip all of India’s 1.18-million-strong military with these ATGMs, with an initial off-the-shelf induction followed by ongoing manufacture in India by Bharat Dynamics Ltd. (BDL).
A similar deal has been proposed between the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for an MR-SAM regiment. Each MR-SAM system comes with 16 firing units which feature multifunction surveillance and threat-tracking radars, as well as weapon control systems. Should the deal go through, following the initial purchase, these, too, would continue to be produced by BDL.