Defence Ministry to approach U.S. for third generation ‘Javelin' anti-tank guided missile for the Army

The Defence Ministry on Monday said it plans to approach the United States to procure third generation ‘Javelin' anti-tank guided missile for the Army under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony told the Lok Sabha through a written reply that once the Ministry issues the letter of request, further action for procurement will follow. The Javelin missile was exhibited during the Indo-U.S. exercise involving mechanised forces, at Babina last year.

It is a fire-and-forget missile with lock-on before launch and has automatic self-guidance besides other features.

Once processed, this would become the third such possible procurement route preferred by the government this year.

In January this year, the U.S. Defence Security Cooperation Agency, under its Department of Defense (DoD), notified to the U.S. Congress of possible sale of 145 M777 155mm Light-Weight Towed Howitzers that is estimated to cost $467.

In April, the Agency said it notified the Congress of potential sale of 10 heavy-lift Boeing C-17 Globemaster-III to India with an estimated value of $5.8 billion. The Indian Air Force conducted trials for the C-17 earlier this summer at three locations, including in Himachal Pradesh, to test its efficacy to take-off from a short airfield.

The Defence Ministry has maintained that it clears procurement of military hardware under the FMS route only to meet the operational requirements of the armed forces.

While the FMS process does away with the established tender procedure under the Defence Procurement Policy, there has been criticism that while it addresses time delays, the cost of equipment is fixed by the suppliers and without any commitment on transfer of technology and other things than can be negotiated under multi-vendor process. In addition, the DoD charges an administrative fee for processing procurement for this government-to-government sale.

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