India, Israel sign defence deals worth $2 billion

India, Israel sign defence deals worth $2 billion

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s forthcoming visit to Tel Aviv, India has signed a $2 billion (nearly Rs 12,880 crore) contract with Israel Aerospace Industries for supply of air defence missiles to the Indian Army.

The principle component of the deal is a mega contract worth over $1.6 billion, under which the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) will provide Barak-8 medium-range surface-to-air-missile (MR-SAM) defence systems to the Indian Army. The missiles reportedly have a range of 70 km.

This is the largest defence contract in the history of Israel’s defence industry, whose presence is growing steadily in India. In addition, the company will also provide air defence missiles for India’s latest aircraft carrier Vikrant, which is currently under construction in Cochin shipyard.

The MR-SAM is an advanced ground-breaking air and missile defence system that provides protection against a variety of aerial threats. It includes an advanced phased-array radar, command and control, mobile launchers and missiles with advanced RF seekers.

Similarly surface-to-air-missiles are being used by the Navy and Air Force, which in the past inked contracts with the IAI worth Rs 2,600 crore and Rs 10,000 crore respectively to protect themselves from enemy strikes.

“The current contracts represent an enormous expression of confidence by India in IAI’s capabilities and advanced technologies which are being developed with our local partners as part of the Make in India policy,” Joseph Weiss, IAI’s President and CEO, said in a statement.

The current version of MR-SAM is operational with the Indian Air Force, Navy and Israel Defence Forces. The MR-SAM was jointly developed by the IAI and the Defence Research and Development Organisation in collaboration with Rafael and IAI/Elta.

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