Due to tensions along India’s western border, a successful test of the Israeli surface-to-air Python and Derby (Spyder) missile system at Chandipur-on-sea was conducted on Thursday, destroying a British made drone.
The Spyder is set to replace India’s age-old air defense system, the Soviet-era Osa-AKM and 9K35 Strela-10, at six air bases and other critical locations along the western border.
The Spyder launches two different types of missile — Python 5 and Derby missiles — from the same launcher pad. Most of the upcoming jets – Rafale and LCA Tejas — of the IAF will be equipped to fire Derby missiles. The LCA Tejas also successfully launched a guided Derby missile on Thursday.
The Spyder SR system is a generation-and-a-half ahead of the Osa and Strela which were essentially designed four decades ago. The Spyder SR will provide a high degree of assurance in terms of air as well missile defense cover with a Lock On Before Launch (LOBL) as well as After Launch (LOAL), thus the reaction time will be much faster with high hit probability,” Brigadier Rahul Bhonsle, a retired Indian Army brigadier and defense analyst, said.
India had inked a $1.2 billion contract with the Israeli company in 2008-09 for the supply of 90 launchers.
IWI has tied up with India’s Punj Lloyd to manufacture small arms including assault rifles, such as Tavor 21 and Galil, under technology transfer arrangement. Punj Lloyd has inaugurated a plant in central India with the help of IWI and the production of small arms will begin here this year.
“We have done a joint venture with IWI and we have set up a plant for manufacturing assault rifles, carbines, light machine guns and snipers in our plant. This is a joint venture with technology transfer arrangement to India,” Ashok Wadhawan, President — Manufacturing Business (Defense and Aerospace) at Punj Lloyd Limited told Sputnik.
Punj Lloyd will manufacture 5.56x45mm Tavor assault rifles that can fire up to 950 rounds per minute, and X-95 short weapon with a long barrel, three-caliber weapon having 360° Picatinny rail. Apart from assault rifles, the joint venture will also manufacture semi-automatic Negev (5.56X45mm and 7.62X51mm) assault light machine gun and 7.62x51mm semi-automatic Galil sniper rifles. The Galil sniper fires up to 1,000 meters, targeting small, mobile or concealed objectives.
Punj Lloyd has set its eye on the Indian Army’s plan to purchase 185,000 assault rifles with telescopic sights in future. However, the company expects the joint venture to make it big in all the procurement plans of armed forces related to small arms. “It is basically for Make in India program. Right now we are not targeting just one product line here. All the small arms products, which are needed for the armed forces, we would manufacture,” Wadhawan added.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Israel this July to mark the 25th anniversary of joint diplomatic relations. Modi’s visit, which will be the first-ever by an Indian Prime Minister, could yield some more defense deals between the two countries including armed Heron TP drones and Phalcon radar systems.
The Indian government signed a contract worth more than $1.6 billion with Israeli arms firm IAI. Over the last three years, India has signed 10 defense contracts with Israel, which is second only to Russia.
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