- India has scrapped a deal with Israel for the purchase of Spike anti-tank missiles from defence contractor Rafael Advanced Defence Systems.
- The decision to scrap the deal came after Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) claimed that it could deliver an alternative- the Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) by 2021.
- India had signed a deal with Israel to purchase 321 Spike launchers and 8,356 missiles in 2014. It was later scrapped in 2017 in favour of DRDO. However, again in January 2018, it was reauthorized following Israeli Prime Minister’s visit to India. Later, Rafael constructed a missile-manufacturing facility near Hyderabad in joint venture with the Kalyani group.
- Spike is a man-portable “fire and forget’ missile that can hit moving targets such as a tank, allowing the soldier who fires the missile to quickly move for cover.
- The MPATGM is a third-generation anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). It is fitted with high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead.
- It has a strike range of 2.5 km and is capable of being fired from shoulder. It can be used during day and night. It weighs around 14.5 kg to maintain man portability and has a minimum lateral centre and gravity offset.
- It also has features like Imaging Infrared Radar (IIR) Seeker with integrated avionics. DRDO had successfully test-fired MPATGM in March 2019.
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