India is in the process of stocking up its missile arsenal as the stand-off with China in eastern Ladakh continues for the eighth consecutive month and the services extensively plan for the challenges that may emerge in the summer.
According to a report published in Jane’s Defence Weekly, a noted publication on military matters, India has awarded a $200 million contract to Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems for supplying an undisclosed number of SPICE bomb-guidance kits, and between 300 and 320 Spike-Long Range Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs), besides the BNET broadband IP software defined radios, which are pitched as a system for secure communications during on-the-move tactical operations.
The equipment, the report dated 24 December states, will be delivered by early 2021. It has been procured under the emergency powers given to the armed forces by the Union defence ministry this July to procure weapons systems worth up to Rs 300 crore on an urgent basis.
A senior IAF officer said the fresh purchase of the SPICE 2000 air-to-ground missiles is an emergency procurement.
This weapon has already been integrated into the Mirage 2000 fleet and the Sukhoi-30 fighters of the IAF. The SPICE 2000 bombs, which weigh 500 kg, can also be integrated onto Jaguars and the indigenous Tejas as well, the officer added.
“The Spice 2000 bombs have proven their worth during the Balakot strikes. It will enhance the capabilities of the IAF by adding to the inventory of missiles that can hit the targets from a long range with pinpoint accuracy, which is particularly important during the ongoing conflict,” the officer added.
He, however, said the numbers ordered will still be inadequate for the approximately 250 Sukhoi-30s and the 50 Mirage 2000s that the IAF currently has.