Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Cabinet Committee on Security chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday cleared a Rs. 10,000-crore joint venture with Israel to strengthen its defences against aerial attacks.

The new generation missile with the capability of hitting aircraft and other aerial targets 70 km away will be developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Indian Air Force (IAF) and Israel Aerospace Industries. It will help overcome the increasing obsolescence of the present systems meant to defend the country’s strategic assets.

The DRDO will be the prime contractor for the project, which will have an indigenous component of Rs. 2,300 crore. India plans to build 18 command and launch systems for the new surface-to-air missiles. The missiles will have the capability to engage multiple targets up to a range of 70 km and will be part of a new system to counter threats on the ground as well as serve as area defence.

Outdated technology

The Government was forced to approach a foreign partner in view of the delay in developing an indigenous version of the missile. Most missile firing units of the IAF are extremely old with no spare support.