LONDON ø India and Israel are examining the feasibility of
conducting a joint missile project.
Indian officials said the project would comprise the joint production of
a long-range missile. They said the discussions began in 2003 and have
"Wherever they have strengths, we want to jointly develop the missiles
so that both countries can benefit and share designs, costs and risks,"
India's chief defense scientist V.K. Atre said.
Atre told a news conference on Aug. 31 that the talks over joint missile
development were taking place between India's Defence Research and
Development Organization and the Israeli Defense Ministry. He said the two
countries were currently conducting joint research and development of
sensors and fiber-optic gyroscopes for the military. Atre is the outgoing
secretary of the Defence Research and Development Organization.
Officials said India has sought Israeli help to improve the guidance
systems of New Dehli's new long-range missiles. India has been planning to
complete development of its intermediate-range Agni-3 missile, with a range
of more than 3,000 kilometers. They said Israel was summoned to help
overcome unspecified technical difficulties with the missile.
On Aug. 29, India announced a successful test its Agni-2, reported to
have a range of 2,500 kilometers. The Agni was meant to carry a one-ton
Indian officials said Israel was expected to provide expertise and
technology for several additional Indian missile development projects
stalled because of
technical difficulties. They said this would include the Akash
surface-to-air missile, the short-range Trishul surface-to-air missile and
the Nag-4 anti-tank missile.
Over the next year, officials said, the two countries would seek to
launch up to three defense research and development projects. They said
India's DRDO and Israeli defense contractors would fund the programs.
In July, India and Israel held strategic defense talks in New Dehli in
which a range of projects were discussed. Indian sources said the Israeli
Defense Ministry delegation urged Indian officials to approve proposals for
arms sales and expanded training and technology transfers.
Officials said the Akash, with a range of 25 kilometers, would be ready
for deployment by the end of 2004. The Akash missile was said to have
entered serial production in 2000.
The Nag is a fire-and-forget anti-tank missile with a range of up to six
kilometers. The Nag development program was launched in 1983 but stalled by