Rafael positioned to Strengthen Missile offering in India

1737
Lova Drori, Executive Vice President for Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

Rafael is optimistic about expanding its cooperating with local defense and industry establishments in India, following the supply of the first Spyder air defense systems to the Indian Air Force, and the potential for increased sales, addressing the future air requirements of Indian air, land and naval commands. Israeli participation has been dominant in most recent Indian air defense programs.

Following the formal approval of the Spyder procurement order, Rafael has completed the first Spyder-SR unit, comprising six mobile launchers, a command and control system, missile loaders and support elements. Delivery of the second unit is currently underway. The system raised great interest in India and throughout the region, being the first employment of standard air/air weaponry in a multi-role, all-weather, close-in and beyond-visual-range capable air defense system. In the past, similar performance could be achieved with much more complex and dedicated surface-to-air missiles. Rafael is hopeful that the initial Spyder sale to the Air Force will open the door for additional roles in the Indian Defense Forces, particularly, as a planned Quick Reaction SAM (QRSAM) program, the Army’s successor for current  forward air defense assets and medium-range missiles.


Following the formal approval of the Spyder procurement order, Rafael has completed the first Spyder-SR unit, comprising six mobile launchers, a command and control system, missile loaders and support elements. Delivery of the second unit is currently underway. The system raised great interest in India and throughout the region, being the first employment of standard air/air weaponry in a multi-role, all-weather, close-in and beyond-visual-range capable air defense system. In the past, similar performance could be achieved with much more complex and dedicated surface-to-air missiles. Rafael is hopeful that the initial Spyder sale to the Air Force will open the door for additional roles in the Indian Defense Forces, particularly, as a planned Quick Reaction SAM (QRSAM) program, the Army’s successor for current  forward air defense assets and medium-range missiles.

Since Spyder-SR uses standard air/air missiles (Python 5 and Derby) launched from a ground mobile launcher, fielding the missiles in India opens attractive opportunities for Rafael’s air/air weaponry with other services as well. While Derby is already fielded with the Indian Navy Sea Harriers, and is considered to equip the LCA, Python 5 missiles are considered as part of the Mirage 2000 upgrade and for future upgrades of the Jaguar attack aircraft. Rafael’s missiles are addressing all the Indian mandatory requirements and are considered part of the weapons packages preferred by the Indians submitted by most of the contenders for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). Rafael missiles are already included in all platforms proposed by western manufacturers, including F-16, F/A-18, and Gripen; integration of its missiles on the Rafale and Typhoon fighters will be performed by Rafael, is selected. Regarding the MiG-35, the Israeli company has some limitations performing the work directly with Russian industries and future integration of its weapons and systems on MiG-35 will be performed in India, if this multi-role fighter is selected for MMRCA.

Lova Drori, Executive Vice President for Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

To strengthen its offering in India, Rafael is expected to establish a private partnership company with a local industry partner in India, to which the Israeli company could transfer know-how and manufacturing technology, specifically related to seekers, and missile production. Rafael is hopeful that such a local entity will establish its market position and also contribute to lowering production costs, thus becoming even more competitive in the world market. According to the Indian magazine Domain-B, Rafael is to form a joint venture company with Bharat Electronics Ltd to manufacture several of the company’s air-to-air and air-to-surface weapon systems. Negotiations about the establishment of the venture have reached “advanced stages”, according to Rafael’s vice-president, marketing Lova Drori.

Rafael is also developing the Barak 8 missile, the principal interceptor of two of India’s newest medium and long-range SAM systems. In 2006 Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has been selected as a prime contractor for the supply of Long Range Surface/Air Missile (LRSAM) systems to the Indian Navy surface vessels, extending the coverage provided by current Barak-1 missiles. By January 2009 the Government approved enhancing it into land-based systems, protecting strategic land facilities, under the Air Force’s MRSAM program. Under this program, IAI and DRDO will be responsible for the complete system, while IAI divisions and Rafael will develop specific subsystems. The team is also considering extending the range of future MRSAM to 150 km, by adding a booster to the current Barak-8 missiles.