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Army invokes emergency powers for missile deal (Relevant for GS Prelims)

Set to procure systems from Israel and Russia
The Army is in the process of procuring Spike-LR Anti-Tank Missiles from Israel and Igla-S Very Short Range Air Defence Systems (VSHORAD) from Russia through a set of new financial powers for emergency procurements sanctioned by the Defence Ministry earlier this month.

Under the latest emergency financial powers, armed forces have been given a free hand to procure equipment worth up to ₹300 crore on a priority basis.

What happened earlier?
Tenders for both deals had gone through regular procurement process earlier. While the Spike tender was cancelled during the cost negotiation phase, the deal for Igla, after repeated delays, is in the cost negotiation phase.

loosening the purse string

What is the emergency route of purchases?
Under the emergency route, the Army is looking to procure about 12 launchers and around 250 missiles for each system. Deliveries have to be completed in three months, but extendable to six months.

Fate of earlier negotiations
The Spike-LR (Long Range) being procured is a different variant from the one tested and shortlisted as part of the earlier procurement for over 8,000 missiles and 300 launchers along with technology transfer. As contract negotiations dragged on, the deal was cancelled in January last year and it was decided to procure a smaller number — 170 launchers, 4,500 missiles and 15 simulators — through an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) and make up the balance requirement with an indigenous Man Portable ATGM currently under development.

Before the IGA was concluded, validatory trials of the Infrared Seeker (IR) of the missile were to be held during the Indian summers as the missile “did not perform as desired in the previous trials during peak summer temperatures in the desert,” according to another source. However, the IGA has not made progress so far. The Spike-LR (Long Range) has a range of 4 km. It is so far not clear if additional trials would be performed as part of the emergency procurement. Some defence officials indicated that testing was not required as the missile is operational and in service across the world and that if needed tests would be carried out in the home country (Israel).

 (Adapted from The Hindu)



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