At a time when the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is making fast progress in the field of missiles, the Indian Army is planning to scrap a project worth over Rs 3,000 crore to acquire more than 4,000 Israeli Spike anti-tank missiles and go in for an indigenous weapon system.
The Spike missile deal has been in the making for a long time but has been delayed or scrapped for one reason or another.
“The Made in India weapon system called the Man Portable Anti Tank Guide Missile (MP-ATGM) is progressing very fast and is going to go for its second trial soon. The Army is now planning to go for the indigenous system over the Spike missile,” top government sources told MyNation.
Earlier, the Army had plans of acquiring over 4,000 missiles for meeting its urgent requirements for the missiles which would be used for destroying enemy tank regiments in case of war and fulfill its full requirement of 20,000 ATGMs by inducting the MP-ATGM in large numbers.
However, now the thinking in the force is that since the Spike missile would also take two to three years after the signing of the contract for induction, it would be better if the Army goes in for the DRDO equipment which would be ready for induction at around the same time-frame, the sources said.
An Israeli vendor had been selected for supplying over 8,000 Spike ATGMs to India but the tender was withdrawn by the defence ministry. Later, it was decided that the requirements would be met through a mix of import and local production. But, now the situation has changed again.
Meanwhile, the state-owned Bharat Dynamics Limited has also laid foundation of the production line for the MP-ATGMs to be produced for the Army in Hyderabad.
The Israeli vendors had also tied up with a private sector company in India for local production of the missile systems.