Defence Ministry gives nod for Israeli Barak missile and other deals
The Defence Ministry has cleared the longpending naval procurement of an additional 262 Israeli Barak-I missiles at an estimated cost of R 880 crore. The deal was mired in controversy and now it goes before the Cabinet Committee on Security.
The Indian Navy has been demanding replenishment of stock of missiles to arm the Israeli Barak-I antimissile defence (AMD) systems fitted on 14 frontline warships like aircraft carrier INS Viraat and the latest Shivalik-class stealth frigates. But with CBI failing to find evidence of kickbacks in the original R 1,160 crore Barak-I deal inked by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime in October 2000, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has now cleared the fresh case after consulting the Law Ministry and Attorney General.
The DAC also gave the green signal for the delayed naval project for 16 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) warships for R 13,440 crore and two diving support vessels meant for rescuing sailors from disabled submarines for R 1,500 crore. It also approved the R 300-crore purchase of 41 Dhruv advanced helicopters, manufactured by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The proposal for two deep submergence rescue vessels like “mini submarines” — which ‘mate’ with disabled submarines underwater to rescue trapped sailors from depths up to 610 metres — for instance has been stuck for over 15 years.
Of the several projects currently underway— Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are jointly developing a long-range surface-to-air missile system for R 2,606 crore to arm Indian warships and a medium-range SAM system for IAF at a cost of R 10,076 crore.