NEW DELHI: Enhancing India’s air-defence capability, Prime minister Narendra Modi-led government has given its go-ahead to Rs 17,000 crore deal for jointly developing with Israel a medium-range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM) for the army.
According to sources, the air defence system will be jointly developed by the DRDO and Israeli Aircraft Industry to plug gaps in air defence, as the medium range surface to air missile can shoot down enemy aircraft, drones, surveillance aircraft and AWACS planes at the strike range between 50 km to 70 km in the sky.
Missile deal project was given approval two days back on Wednesday by PM Modi chaired Cabinet committee on security.
The approval for the deal comes ahead of a possible visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel later this year. 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
During his visit to New Delhi in November last, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had said both countries sides had decided to "broadbase" their already close defence partnership. And the development came at the time, as last week, a division of Isareli defence ministry maintained that the Jewish nation has planned to relax its regulations on export of arms and defence equipment.
Officials claim that the MR-SAM, a land-based version of the long-range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) for the navy, will envisage 40 firing units and around 200 missiles.
India is Israel's largest buyer of military hardware and the latter has been supplying various weapons systems, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles over the last few years but the transactions have largely remained behind the curtains.