Defence

Not just Rafales: The blockbuster acquisitions that are driving India’s military modernisation

On Wednesday, the first batch of Dassault Rafale aircraft completed their 7,000km journey across the world to their new home in the Indian sub-continent, marking a new era of modernisation in the IAF’s history. The induction of the five Rafale jets, and the 31 more to arrive in the next few years, is part of a larger drive toward military modernisation that India has embarked upon.

Here, we take a look at some of the most advanced military technology that New Delhi has, in recent years, loosened its purse strings to acquire.

M777 ultra-light howitzers

India inked a deal with the United States worth $750 million in November 2016 for the procurement of 145 ultra-light howitzers (M777), to be manufactured by BAE Systems. The deal signified the first attempt to modernise the nation’s artillery since the debacle of the Bofors scam in the late 1980s. The first of these guns arrived in May 2017. While 25 of these howitzers were set to be imported, the additional 120 were assembled in the homeland by BAE Systems and Mahindra Defence.

Israeli Spike Anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM)

In November 2019, the Indian Army successfully conducted test firing of the Israeli Spike LR anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) capable of homing in on and destroying enemy tanks and vehicles at ranges up to 4km. The Spike missiles are, in fact, a temporary solution to fulfil the Indian Army’s ATGM requirements while the DRDO develops its own indigenous missile, expected to be ready for operation in 2022. However, the Spike Missile’s maker, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, has argued that its missile still exceeds the capabilities of the one that the DRDO is developing. In 2011, India had floated a tender for 321 ATGM launchers and 8,356 missiles in a deal estimated at $500 million.

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