Monday, 29 October 2012

India’s 100 Billion USD Relationship With Israel

Since becoming the single largest defence customer accounting for almost half of the Israeli military sales worldwide, the Indo-Israel relationship has become crucial to both countries, since India has increased its dependency on Israel for sensitive high tech cooperation.Israel’s national economy is bolstered from its sensitive defense technology sales to India. Unmindful of India’s continued tirade against Israel over the issue of Palestine, Israel is deepening its defence relationship with India, ignoring the technology sanctions regime.In the coming decades, India’s defence market will require an order of more than USD 100 billion. Of which, Israel can hope to garner a big chunk of this.

Despite domestic political opposition no government in India can afford to ignore the
sensitive high technology offered by Israel. Israel even went to the extent of supplying the Elta Greenpine and Phalcon radars which was denied to China on US insistence early last decade.The special defence relationship developed between the two countries has upstaged even the Russian defence industry causing Israel to emerge as the single biggest supplier of arms to India. This relationship is worth more than USD $1billion annually, not counting the many joint development programs initiated in the last few years.The India-Israel defence relations began to deepen during the BJP led NDA regime from 1998 to 2004. However, the gates for which actually were opened by the Congress led Narsimha Rao regime. During the Kargil conflict in 1999 Israel appeared as the most credible defence supplier with laser designated pods for the Mirage-2000 fighters, besides supplying many ammunitions urgently needed.Radars and EW Systems israel has helped India in acquiring three Phalcon radars for the AWACS aircraft based on the Russian IL-76 aircraft and two more will be contracted soon, helping the Indian air force strengthen its surveillance capabilities.The Greenpine radars supplied to India in the early years of the previous decade has helped Indian DRDO develop an indigenous anti-missile system, though this is yet to be finally cleared for production. Besides assisting the Indian Air Force in updating its Mig-21 bison aircraft with the latest in avionics and electronic warfare equipments and systems, India has delved deep into the field of anti-missile technology. In January 2009, India inducted the first of three Phalcon all-weather AWACS,built by Israeli Aircraft Industries, under a $1.1 billion deal. The radar system, produced by Israel's Elta Industries, has been installed on the Russian Il-76 aircraft.

The Indian AWACS equipped with Israeli Phalcon have India the honor of becoming the first South Asian country to use the most advanced multi-sensor aircraft in the region.Israel has been key in retrofitting the Indian war platforms with EW gadgets and now the country has provided surveillance on multiple airborne and surface moving targets.Offsets As part of the Phalcon deal, offset conditions of sourcing a minimum 30 percent of any contract locally, the Israelis are setting up five artillery shells factories worth USD 250 million in India.On 1 June, 2011 the Israeli High Tech Industry Association had signed a MOU with CII for boosting cooperation in high technology which will further increase the burgeoning defence sales to India. This MOU will take advantage of the policy to encourage private sector participation in the defence sector, though the FDI in defence sector is still limited to 26 percent, there is a serious move to raise it to beyond 50 percent.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the accord with India’s leading industry chambers would lead to a convergence of “Israel’s innovative prowess with India’s huge and talented pool of human resources.” And added, “Increased arms’ spending has created a natural market for Israeli military technology such as unmanned aerial vehicles and airborne early warning radar systems. In recent years the deepening defence relationship with India has led to a strategic partnership between the two countries.” The defensive missiles have now become the key component of the India Israeli defence connection. Missiles After acquiring the Barak anti-ship missiles early last decade for the Indian navy, India signed a USD 4.1 billion deal to acquire a shore based and ship borne anti- missile air defence system which will be based on Israel’s Barak long range naval missile developed by the IAI.

 Taking cue from the success story of the Indian Russian Brahmos aerospace joint venture, the two countries in 2009 signed a USD 2.5 billion deal with IAI and Israel’s Rafael armaments company to jointly develop an advanced version of the Spyder surface to air missile.India is now entering into arrangements for joint development and production of the long range anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems. Three years ago, Indian DRDO made a smart move to acquire supersonic cruise missile from Russia, which otherwise could not have been supplied by any of the European and US firms on the excuse of the various control regimes.

In March, 2011 the Indian Ministry of Defence is reported to have ordered from
Rafael Advanced Defence Systems 8,356 Spike anti-tank missiles, 321 Spike
launchers, 15 training simulators and other associated equipments worth USD one
billion. According to defence sources, Rafael was the only bidder in the RFP which
was released in June, 2010. It is learnt that since India wanted technology
transfer, other bidders like Raytheon, MBDA, Rosoboronexport and General
Dynamics withdrew from the bid.

Sources say that the Indian army will be handed over off the shelf Spike missiles
from Israel and later partly assembled missiles will be sent to India for final
assembly by the Indian public sector defence firm Bharat Dynamics and later to be
fully assembled by BDL. The Spike missile systems will be installed on the Russian
T-90 tanks. The Spike missiles have a 90 percent accuracy rate with a range of 2.5
km. These missiles have 3G active passive fire and forget guidance systems.
Considering the delay in the anti-missile systems being developed in India, and
flight tested five times since 2006, the Indian security establishment is seriously
mulling the possibility of acquiring the ARROW -2 Anti Ballistic missile system,
which has been jointly developed by the Israeli Aircraft Industries and the Boeing
of USA.

Although the US administration has many times offered India the anti-missile
systems as part of the BMD system, it is understood that if India seeks to acquire
this missile from Israel, the US would not deny this defensive weapon system to


Israel has also supplied India with the most advanced spy satellite,
post Mumbai carnage of 26-11 by the Pakistani terrorists, to keep a watch on all the military
movements on the borders and the 7000 km coastline of the country. The Israeli
built 300 kg RISAT-2 satellite can see through clouds and is capable of all
weather, day and night imaging. The RISAT-2 was launched on 20 April, 2009 by the Indian PSLV rocket. RISAT -2 is a microwave based high resolution imaging reconnaissance satellite. This can
distinguish cloud camouflaged formations from surrounding terrain.

Long Range Missiles

Though not officially confirmed India is reported to have finalized this year a USD
$1 billion deal with India for the supply of the loitering anti-missile drone, called
HAROP , which can be launched over a suspected area for hours at a distance of
1000 km, spot the target and attack them. The HAROP resembles the earlier
suicide drone HARPY, but this has been augmented by an RF seeker, with an
electro – optical sensor. Since the HAROP can loiter over a suspected site for hours
it can also be targeted against the suspected ballistic missile sites.

As AKASH and Trishul missile could not generate any confidence in the armed
forces, the MoD agreed to work on a joint development program for creating a new
BARAK-NG Medium ship borne air defence missile which has evolved from Barak-1

In July, 2007 the MR-SAM project began moving forward which is now called
Barak-8. The Indian armed forces had pinned its efforts to remove its air defence
weaknesses by collaborating with Israel in a big way. India earlier acquired
BARAK-1 to fill the gap in the absence of promised Trishul missile in a USD 300
million deal. The Indian navy later worked on a BARAK-NG\LR-SAM project, which
will be of longer range of 60-70 km. DRDO is also working on a land based BARAK-
8 Air and Missile Defence System(AMD).

This was confirmed by the Indian defence minister in a written reply in the Indian
parliament on 14th December, 2009,

“Defence Research Development

Organization (DRDO) has undertaken joint development of missiles, Long Range
Surface-to-Air Missile (LRSAM) for Indian navy and Medium Range Surface to Air
Missile (MRSAM) for Indian Air Force with M/s Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI),
Israel. The cost of project for LRSAM is Rs. 2606.02 Crore and cost of project for
MRSAM is Rs. 10075 crore. Both the missiles being developed are comparable in
performance and cost to missiles available in their class in the world market.”
The Indian MOD has also opted for a follow on land based system, which will
replace the old Russian air defence missiles. The DRDO will be the prime partner
with the IAI for the MR-SAM project which will roughly cost Rs 2300 crores (USD
450 million) in participation of the total project cost of Rs 10,000 crores (around
USD 2 billion). The project which hopes to be completed in 5 years provide the
Indian armed forces with 9 advanced air defence squadrons, each with 2 MR-SAM
firing units. Each unit will have a command and control centre, acquisition radar,
guidance radar and three launchers with eight missiles each. The total program
aims at ten command and control centers, 18 acquisition radars and 54 launchers
which will be loaded with 432 MR-SAM missiles.

After the 2001 attack on Indian Parliament, India invited the Israeli army experts
to train 3,000 Indian soldiers in anti-insurgency warfare in jungle, mountain and
desert areas. And to arm these soldiers with urban warfare equipments, India
authorized USD 30 million agreement with Israeli Military Industries (IMI) for
3,400 tavor assault rifles, 200 Galil sniper rifles along with night vision and laser
range finding and targeting equipment.

Early last decade, the Israeli Aircraft Industries entered into several contracts
with Indian Air Force, which also included the agreement to upgrade Russian Mig-
21 aircrafts, unmanned aerial vehicles and laser guided bombs. India also later
negotiated with Israel for the state of the art fire control systems and thermal
imagers for the Indian army’s Russian T-72 tanks.

In 2003 Indian DRDO was supplied with the Elta Green Pine radar a very
important component of Arrow Ballistic Missile Defence systems. The same year
India started negotiating for the Phalcon radar, for which Israel successfully
prevailed upon US for letting supply the radar to India, which has imposed
sanction post May-1998 nuclear tests.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

In the middle of last decade the Indian HAL joined hands with the Israeli Aircraft
Industries for marketing its Advanced Light Helicopters in world market. In fact
the avionics produced by IAI was installed on the ALH for global marketing.
The unmanned aerial vehicle strength of the Indian armed forces is derived mainly
from the Israeli companies.
In 2005, India entered into an agreement with Israel Aircraft Industries for supply
of 50 HERON-MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) UAVs worth USD 220
million, for reconnaissance missions on India’s mountainous borders with China
and Pakistan and also on 7000 km long coast line of India. Before this deal India
had acquired 12 Heron-1 drones, which was put to very good use during the
Tsunami in 2004 for search and rescue operations, near the Andaman and Nicobar

This Heron is capable of day long flying (can fly non-stop for 40 hours) in locating
the survivors. The Heron is capable of carrying multiple payloads for variety of
missions. It includes electro-optical and surveillance equipment, maritime patrol
radars and sensors, signals and other intelligence gathering antennas, radio relays
and laser designators. India has also acquired the Israeli SEARCHER-2 equipped
with standard day night surveillance turret.

On the other hand the Herons are similar to the Israel’s maritime patrol
configuration along with an Elta systems radar besides a stabilized Tamam
surveillance and targeting turret. India has also acquired Heron-2 or Heron TP
variant, which has a bigger 1,200 hp Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6A turboprop
for powering. It has a mission payload of 1000 kg and can be flown up to 45,000
feet. It has a maximum endurance of 36 hours.

The Heron \ Searcher UAV squadrons are based mainly in the Navy’s bases in
Gujarat coastal areas. It was reported in August, 2009 that Indian army has
ordered two more troops ( 6 to 8 birds each) of advanced Heron UAVs from IAI at
a cost of Rs 118 crores (then USD 230 million) , This acquisition was intended by
Indian army to better observe the long borders with China and Pakistan.
India Israel defence relations have thus transcended the limits set by the India-
Russia defence and strategic partnership. Israel has proved that it can be a
dependable defence partner. It can offer technologies which India cannot source
from other countries

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