Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) on Thursday signed contracts worth $2 billion (around Rs 13,000 crore) with India’s Ministry of Defence and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for supply of Medium Range Surface-To-Air Missiles (MRSAM) for the Indian Army.
One mega-contract, where IAI will provide an advanced MRSAM air and missile defence systems to the Indian Army is worth over $1.6 billion, the company said after signing the contract.
Without specifying the number of systems, IAI said this contract is the largest defence contract in the history of Israel defence industries’.
In addition to this $1.6 bn contract, IAI said, it will also supply additional Long Range Surface to Air Missiles (LR-SAM) anti-ship missile defence systems for the first built in India aircraft carrier (INS Vikrant). INS Vikrant is being constructed at Cochin Shipyard (CSL).
IAI has developed MR-SAM and LR-SAM jointly with DRDO. While the MR-SAM detects incoming enemy aircraft from a range of 100 kms and destroys them at ranges out to 70 km, the LR-SAM (also called BARAK-8) detects and shoots down incoming anti-ship missiles at a similar distance of around 70 Kms.
Israel is presently the second largest supplier of arms and weapon equipments to India after the United States. The signing of the contracts assumes significance as it comes few months ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel in July this year.
“Over the past 25 years, IAI has worked with the Indian defence industries and armed forces in many areas as part of our strategic partnership. The current contracts represent an enormous expression of confidence by the Government of India in IAI’s capabilities and advanced technologies which are being developed with our local partners as part of the Indian Government’s ‘Make in India’ policy,” said Joseph Weiss, IAI’s President and CEO.
Speaking to DefenceAviationPost.com after signing the contract, a senior government official said, “The contract has been signed between IAI and DRDO….now the order for bulk production of these missile systems will be undertaken by the Hyderabad based Indian defence PSU, Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL).” However, he did not specify the number of systems that will be ordered for production to BDL.
“We continue to stand with our partners in India at the forefront of technology for the defense and security of both our countries.” Weiss said, adding that IAI was proud to be leading this flagship project after a long and joint development process.”
On his part, Boaz Levi, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Systems, Missiles & Space Group said that along with its partner in India, IAI will supply to the Indian Army “an advanced, sophisticated and innovative system that will provide the best operational solution.”
MRSAM is an advanced ground breaking air and missile defense system that provides the ultimate protection against a variety of aerial threats. In its existing version, MRSAM is operational with the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and Israel Defense Forces.
The system includes an advanced phased-array radar, command and control, mobile launchers and missiles with advanced RF seekers.
MRSAM was developed jointly for the Indian Army by IAI and DRDO in collaboration with Rafael and IAI/EltaC, and worked with various Indian companies including BEL, L&T, BDL and other private vendors.