Vishnu Sukumaran

Israel's Rafael, makers and suppliers of high-tech defence systems are offering the Indian armed forces a wide range of products. But one of the highlights of their display is the Spike family of missiles and Derby missiles.

Read: Aero India 2017: Is India shifting gears with UAVs to snoop on Pakistan and China?

Rafael has three missiles in the Spike family, Spike NLOS, Spike ER, Spike MR/LR and Spike SR. Speaking to International Business Times, India, Rafael representative told that the fourth generation, man-portable missile system of the Spike MR (medium range) was being offered to the Indian armed forces and Indian private company Kalyani Group are making several parts of the missile, complying with the 'Make in India' initiative.

The representative also noted that they have also offered it to Indian Air Force's weaponisation programme for LCH, Mi-17 and others. The missile is also being offered for future infantry combat vehicle (FICV) of the Indian Army.

The Spike MR has a high hit probability against stationary and moving targets. It comes with state-of-the-art CCD / IIR seeker, which means that it can operate during day and night and in adverse weather conditions. Further, it also has an advanced tracker and precision guidance system.

These missiles strike their target with pinpoint precision and in the most vulnerable locations. They are suited for urban combat, traditional battlefields, ground support and special missions.

The MR operates in Fire and Forget mode and can independently engage target up to 2500m. It can be fired from an enclosure.

The missile provides the gunner with an ability to attack targets that are hidden, thanks to the fiber optic data communication link. And even after it is launched, it can update or switch to a valuable target. This also helps in conducting surveillance/damage assessment, and obtains real-time tactical intelligence.

The missile is known for its high survivability, pinpoint accuracy and low life-cycle costs. The missile is in operation with several countries, including Israel.

Rafael have offered its Derby BVR (beyond visual range) and Python missiles for the IAF. The LCA Tejas has been seen flaunting Derby missiles in its pylon.

Derby is a medium-range Air-to-Air missile. But the company was seen showcasing its new I-Derby missile, which features solid-state RF seeker and I-Derby ER, multi-range (short, medium and long-range) BVR Air-to-Air and Air Defense missile that has a range of 100km. I-Derby ER is designed for fighters like F-5, Mirage-2000, F-16, LCA Tejas, JAS-39 Gripen and F/A-50.

As of May 2016, India is set to acquire 275 launchers and 5,500 Spike missiles in completed and kit form along with an undisclosed number of simulators, IHS Janes's Defence Weekly reported. 

Rafael is participating in the Aero India 2017 in a big way and it has displayed several products in the exhibition section of the event.