3/26/2009 11:36 PM ET
(RTTNews) - The Indian government has signed a USD 2.0 billion deal for the purchase and joint development of an air-defense system from Israel--the biggest defense deal with New Delhi in recent times, media reports say.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has officially acknowledged that the defense deal between the two countries was signed February 27 under which the joint development of the 70-kilometre seaborne and shore-based MR-SAM missile project would be carried with India's Department of Defense Research and Development (DRDO).
The deal came at a time when India already possesses a more powerful missile in the same class--the advanced air defense (AAD) missile, part of India's anti-ballistic missile shield. The Indian defense ministry is yet to officially confirm the deal, but unidentified officials in the DRDO said it was likely to go ahead.
As per the agreement, IAI has also undertaken to procure military or aviation products and services from India. Besides, it will invest in defense companies in India up to an amount equal to 30 per cent of the contract.
The Israeli company also manufactures Barak missile systems and the DRDO is hoping that collaboration with the IAI will help it develop these missiles within four to five years. The Barak missiles are surface-to-air precision-guided missiles with a short range of about 10 kilometers and are very effective missile interceptors used as the last layer of defense to destroy an advancing missile.
Indian naval sources said that Israeli Barak missiles, Derby missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and electronic warfare equipment are either already being used by the Indian navy or are in the process of being bought.
Being a reliable defense partner, Israel has considerably improved its ties with India on the basis of mutual cooperation.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will put an Israeli radar-imaging satellite RISAT in orbit in the first week of April.
This is the second time that the ISRO will be putting in orbit an Israeli satellite. A PSLV in January last year deployed in orbit Tecsar, also a radar-imaging, remote-sensing satellite. The launch was executed under a commercial contract between the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and the Antrix Corporation, the commercial wing of the India's Department of Space.
by RTT Staff Writer
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