Army inducts Israeli Spike missiles

Indian infantry soldiers now finally have a new weapon to destroy advancing enemy tanks on the western front with Pakistan. The Army has begun to induct a limited number of Israeli Spike anti tank guided missiles to meet immediate operational requirements till the indigenous man-portable “tank killers” being developed by DRDO are ready for induction.

Sources said the “first lot” of the 210 Spike missiles, with a dozen launchers, “arrived in India about 10 days ago” as part of the “Army vice chief ’s emergency procurement powers” exercised by the force amidst the ongoing heightened tensions with Pakistan. The Army moved to buy the initial amount of the fire-and-forget Spike ATGMs, which have a strike range of up to 4-km, for around Rs.280 crore after the Jaish-e-Muhammed training facility at Balakot in Pakistan was bombed by Indian Mirage-2000 fighters on February 26.

Whether it’s indigenous or Israeli man-portable “tank killers”, the fact remains the 13-lakh strong Army has an alarming over 50% shortage in its “authorised holding” of different kinds of shoulder, vehicle and helicopter-launched ATGMs, which are crucial to halt advancing enemy tanks in the plains as well as “bunker bursting” across the volatile Line of Control with Pakistan. The Army’s existing second generation Milan-2T (2-km range) and Konkurs (4-km) ATGMs, produced by defence PSU Bharat Dynamics under licence from French and Russian companies, do not have night-fighting capabilities.

The Army for well over a decade has been clamouring to upgrade from these wire-guided ATGMs to third and fourth-generation ones that are top-attack, fire-and-forget and night-capable.

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