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US offers Javelin Anti-Tank Guided Missiles again to India: Sources

US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin is ready to offer Javelin Anti-tank Guided Missiles through the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) between India and US, and `MAKE II’ set, say company officials. Speaking to Financial Express Online, Haley Donoho, International Business Development, Javelin said, “We are offering the Javelin ATGM through the DTTI route and if the deal is finalised it will be made in India under `Make II’ category.”

The Javelin is included in the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) between India and the US, which means that that the US administration is ready to share technology and to co-produce and co-develop future weapon systems in India. Through the efforts of the DTTI, more than 50 per cent of the original or pathfinder projects have reached project agreement. Projects including signature aperture radar, hot-engine technology for indigenous light combat aircraft and stealth-coating technology are critical for widening the scope for DTTI cooperation.

Donoho in response to a question said that, “We are very willing to share technology, and we are very willing to co-produce and co-develop future versions of the weapon system in India.”

The Americans have so far been reluctant to part with the latest generation of technology for Javelin, but the MoD source said Washington has now agreed to part with new-generation Javelin for co-production in India.

Sources confirmed that Lockheed Martin at the recently concluded Aero-India show had made a presentation again on Javelin Anti-tank Guided Missiles, and further discussions will take place.

India had come very close to purchasing the Javelin weapon, through the Foreign Military Sales route, but the US had refused to transfer technology for the system and the proposal finally fell through in 2010.

It may be recalled that the US ‘Javelin’ ATGM built by Lockheed Martin has a range of 4000 meters, has already been rejected once when Indian Army chose Spike of Israel which has a range of only 2500 meters.

The tender for acquiring ATGM from countries including Israel, France and US was cancelled earlier after a decision was taken to get the indigenous missiles from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Last October, after successfully flight testing for the second time the indigenously developed Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM), production facility for manufacturing these missiles was inaugurated at Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) unit at Bhanur. The mass production of the man portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM) is likely to start in 2021.

Financial Express Online has reported earlier that the MPATGM is a third-generation anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), which has been under development by DRDO in partnership with Indian defense contractor VEM Technologies Ltd. since 2015. This missile is fitted with a high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead and has a maximum engagement range of about 2.5 Kms. Eight static tests of rocket motor have been conducted to achieve consistent ballistic performance in 2017.

In 2017, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had called off the planned purchase of Israeli Spike-MR which was valued at $ 500 mn and had directed the DRDO to indigenously work on man-portable fire and forget guided missile.

These missiles are going to equip India Army’s both infantry and mechanised units by the early 2020s. Also, as has been reported earlier in the media, DRDO has also been working on the third-generation ATGM Nag which is in advanced stage of testing, fired from the Nag Missile Carrier (NAMICA). The Indian army says it requires at least 40,000 anti-tank guided missiles in the next 20 years to equip 382 infantry battalions and 44 mechanized infantry units with new-generation weapons and replace the second- generation French-made Milan missile.

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