India, Israel May Work Together on More Weapons
Dec. 12, 2012 - 04:43PM By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI Defense News
NEW DELHI — India and Israel are discussing broader cooperation in joint
weapon development, with India also seeking to purchase and produce the Iron
Dome short-range surface-to-air missile defense system.
Indian Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and the visiting director
general of Israel’s Defense Ministry, Maj. Gen. Udi Shani, discussed the
pace of weapon projects being developed jointly and possible new programs
during talks on Dec. 3-4.
Israeli diplomats in India and Israeli government and industry officials
declined to comment on the issue.
Apart from ongoing medium-range and long-range ballistic missile programs,
which cost a combined $2 billion, the two countries are building a variety
of missiles, including a ground-to-ground land attack missile. That missile
is publicly described as a project of India’s Defence Research and
Development Organisation (DRDO), but it is actually a joint effort with
Israel, according to sources.
Increasing the range of the land attack missile from 1,000 to 3,000
kilometers also was discussed, the source added.
The list of future projects discussed included microsatellite systems that
can be launched from aircraft, laser-guided missiles and precision-guided
munitions. Other projects could include specialized radars, such as an
airborne surveillance radar for India’s homegrown Light Combat Aircraft, and
a long-range tracking surveillance radar for ballistic missile systems, an
Indian Defence Ministry source said.
It is not known if the two sides finalized an agreement to jointly work on
these projects during the meeting.
DRDO is developing the land attack missile in technical collaboration with
three Israeli companies: Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Elta and Rafael.
DRDO laboratories working on the project include the Defence Research and
Development Laboratory, the Research Centre IMARAT and Aerospace Systems,
Hyderabad; Defence Avionics Research Establishment, Bangalore; and the
Electronics and Radar Development Establishment and Naval Physical
Oceanographic Laboratory, both of Kochi.
Iron Dome discussions have revolved around India’s desire to acquire the
system under what it calls a “buy-and-make” basis, meaning it would purchase
the system, but also get a license from Israel to produce it.
The Indian source said that while Israel has agreed to sell Iron Dome, it
has hesitated to part with the technology and allow India to produce it.
The delay in the Indo-Israeli long-range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) air
defense project for warships also was discussed. The $600 million project,
launched in 2005 to arm Indian warships, is still in the trial stages,
although it was scheduled for induction by mid-2012.
Being developed by DRDO and IAI, the LRSAM has a range of 70 kilometers. The
missile was tested in July in Israel.
Seeker and guidance tests are planned for this month, and the validation and
user trials will be take place next year. The missile is expected to be
ready for induction in 2014, sources said.