Home Indian Defense Army, IAF Induct Advanced Israeli SPIKE LR-2-NLOS ‘Tank Killers’

Army, IAF Induct Advanced Israeli SPIKE LR-2-NLOS ‘Tank Killers’

by thesquadron.in
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NEW DELHI: The Army and IAF have now begun to induct advanced Israeli anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) with longer ranges and greater armour-penetration capabilities, amid the two-year long military confrontation with China in eastern Ladakh reports TOI.

The Israeli `tank killers’ were ordered under emergency procurements last year due to the troop stand-off with China, which is yet to show any signs of de-escalation. The sheer utility of such weapons has been demonstrated during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Ukrainian troops armed with US-origin Javelin ATGMs and western next-generation light anti-tank light missiles (NLAWs) have destroyed hundreds of Russian tanks and other armoured vehicles since the conflict began on February 24.

The Israeli family of Spike ATGMs is equally lethal and versatile. The Army is inducting the Spike LR-2 launchers and missiles, which have a ground strike range of 5.5-km, while the IAF is integrating its Russian-origin Mi-17 V5 armed helicopters with Spike NLOS (non-line of sight) missiles that can destroy ground targets around 30-km away.

“Both the fifth-generation ATGMs are being inducted in limited numbers under emergency procurements to plug certain operational gaps. The much larger requirement for ATGMs will be met through `Make in India’ projects,” a top defence source said on Sunday.

“The pilot-controlled NLOS missiles, which can be armed with different kinds of warheads, are primarily meant for specialized ‘behind the hill’ missions by IAF helicopters,” he added.

The IAF, incidentally, has 22 Apache attack helicopters, armed with Stinger air-to-air missiles, Hellfire Longbow air-to-ground missiles, guns and rockets, inducted under the Rs 13,952 crore deal with the US in September 2015. The Army, in turn, is getting six Apaches under a Rs 5,691 crore deal in February 2020.

The Spike LR-2 missiles can be used with either a tandem HEAT (high explosive anti-tank) warhead, with 30% more armour-penetration capability, or a smart multi-purpose warhead.

The Army had earlier also inducted a limited number of an earlier generation of Spike tank-killers, with a strike range of 4-km, to meet immediate operational requirements till the indigenous man-portable ATGMs being developed by DRDO were ready.

With a huge deficiency in different kinds of shoulder, vehicle and helicopter-launched ATGMs, the Army has been demanding third and fourth-generation ATGMs for well over a decade.

The force’s existing inventory largely consists of second-generation Milan-2T (2-km range) and Konkurs (4-km) ATGMs, produced by defence PSU Bharat Dynamics under licence from French and Russian companies.

The indigenous helicopter-launched third-generation ATGMS, Helina for Army and Dhruvastra for IAF with a maximum strike range of 8-km, have been successfully tested from Dhruv advanced light helicopters but are yet to be inducted till now.

Similarly, DRDO tested the man-portable ATGM, with a 2.5-km strike range, in its “final deliverable configuration” in January this year. But it is still some time away from induction.

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