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Israel signs about USD 2 bn missile deal with India

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The LRSAM missile being test fired by an Indian Navy warship. A file photo

JERUSALEM (PTI): Israel has signed a nearly USD two billion deal with India to supply advanced missile defence systems, bolstering bilateral military ties in a contract said to be the largest in Israel's defence industries' history.

In a mega-contract worth over USD 1.6 billion, state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will provide advanced medium-range surface-to-air missile systems (MRSAM) to the Indian Army.

IAI said it would also supply additional long-range air and missile defence systems (LRSAM) for the first locally produced Indian aircraft carrier, the company said in a statement on April 6, describing the deal the largest in Israel's defence industries' history.

The contract is worth 1.6 billion USD for IAI, with the rest going to another state-owned defence company, Rafael, that will be providing components for the systems.

"The current contracts represent an enormous expression of confidence by the government of India in IAI's capabilities and advanced technologies, which are being developed with our local partners as part of the Indian government's 'Make in India policy'," IAI CEO Joseph Weiss said in a statement.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who is said to have discussed the deal with Indian leaders during his trip to India early this year, congratulated Weiss on the "historic" deal terming it truly "exceptional".

"Please pass on my congratulations to all who contributed to this important achievement. You have come such a long way to arrive at this point, it is truly exceptional," Rivlin told IAI's CEO.

Weiss responded calling it a "truly remarkable achievement" and "a wonderful gift for the upcoming festival (Passover)" to be celebrated next week.

Israel's willingness to share technology and form joint ventures with Indian companies to develop and manufacture military equipment supporting the "Make in India" initiative is said to have been well received in New Delhi.

In the case of MRSAM, an advanced air and missile defence system that provides protection against a variety of aerial threats, the technology is said to have been jointly developed by IAI and DRDO in collaboration with Rafael and IAI's Elta division.

Indian companies such as BEL and L&T are said to have also participated in the project.

MRSAM's current version is operational with the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

The system includes an advanced phased-array radar, command and control, mobile launchers and missiles with advanced RF seekers.

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