Spike gets a new lease of life: Indian Army seeks Israeli missile as an urgent requirement

240 Spike ER missiles and 12 launchers are being purchased as an "emergency procurement"

April 17, 2019 By Vishal Thapar Photo(s): By Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Limited
The Spike ER is a multi-purpose precision tactical armour-piercing missile with a range of 8 km which can also be mounted on multiple platforms ranging from wheeled and tracked vehicles to helicopters

Prospects for the Israeli Spike missile have got a new lease of life in the Indian market with the Indian Army reportedly putting this system on the fast track procurement route.

The Indian Army declined to confirm or deny reports that 240 Spike ER missiles and 12 launchers are being purchased as an "emergency procurement" under financial powers delegated to the Vice-Chief of Army Staff.

Rafael's Spike ER, with a range of up to 8 km, is a multi-purpose missile system which can be mounted on multiple platforms, including helicopters. It's an advanced, Fifth Generation version of the Spike Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM).

The Spike procurement received a go-ahead from the Defence Acquisition Council in 2014, but the process got stalled because of avowed maturity of the indigenous solution

Trade sources confirmed to SP's that the Spike is back on the table, after having been put in cold storage in 2017-18 following a campaign by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) that it was in an advanced stage in developing an indigenous man-portable ATGM. "It is our understanding that the requirement for the Spike is there," a highly placed sources told this Correspondent.

The Indian Army unsuccessfully ran a decade-long procurement programme from 2006 for an estimated 8,000 ATGMs and 300-Plus launchers, most of which were meant to be made under transfer of technology at the state-owned Bharat Dynamics Limited. The purpose was to find a fourth generation replacement the Milan-2T and Konkur missiles which lacked night fighting capability.

Informed sources infer that limited induction of the Spike could open doors for larger procurement of this multi-purpose missile in the anti-tank/anti-armour role

The Spike procurement received a go-ahead from the Defence Acquisition Council in 2014, but the process got stalled because of avowed maturity of the indigenous solution.

The Spike procurement has now been revived as an urgent requirement, although in much reduced numbers. Under financial powers delegated to Vice-Chiefs in November 2018, the armed forces can make procurements to meet urgent operational requirements costing up to 500 Crore. This process does not require to go through the time-consuming decision-making loop which ends at the door of the Defence Acquisition Council headed by the Defence Minister.

Informed sources infer that limited induction of the Spike could open doors for larger procurement of this multi-purpose missile in the anti-tank/anti-armour role.

The Spike was preferred over the American offer of the Javelin missile.