Rafael Advanced Defense Systems announced Tuesday it officially received confirmation the government of India has scrapped a $500 million deal to purchase Spike anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM); but New Delhi’s defense ministry has given the go ahead for a long-negotiated $72 million purchase of 131 Barak surface-to-air (SAM) missiles and associated equipment – also from Rafael, instead.
The Barak missiles are to be used to replace the aging missile defense systems on India’s naval vessels, specifically on its first aircraft carrier which is currently under construction.
Both moves come exactly two weeks before the state visit of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will be accompanied by 11-year-old Moishe Holtzberg, the sole Jewish survivor of the terrorist slaughter that took place at his parents’ Nariman Chabad House in Mumbai on November 29, 2008.
Last April, the two countries signed a military deal worth nearly $2 billion which includes the supply over several years of medium-range surface-to-air missiles, launchers and communications technology. It was unclear whether the deal announced Tuesday was part of that.
“Rafael was disappointed to receive the decision,” the Israeli defense firm said in a statement. “It should be stressed that the cancellation was done before the contract was signed, and despite the fact that the company fulfilled all its requirements.”
Indian media had already reported on the defense ministry’s decision to cancel the contract in November 2017.
The initial deal for the Spike ATGMs was signed in 2014, with the mammoth deal finalized during the historic visit to Israel in July by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Rafael had already begun preparations for delivery of the missiles and had opened a production facility in India last August together with India’s Kalyani Group, its local partner.