satellite image
A satellite image shows a close-up of a madrasa near Balakot in Pakistan.Reuters

The Indian Air Force (IAF) will buy a more advanced version of the Spice-2000 bombs that were used in the Balakot airstrike in Pakistan in February, reports say.

The new version of the Spice bombs, which will be procured from Israel, will be capable of completely destroying enemy bunkers and buildings.

The Spice-2000 bombs dropped on the Jaish-e- Mohammed (JeM) training camps inside Pakistan at the height of the standoff with Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack were penetrative bombs that used their weight to pierce trough the roof of the target before exploding inside.

"The IAF is now planning to acquire the bunker buster or the building destroyer version with Mark 84 warhead which can decimate targeted buildings," sources told the ANI news agency.

SPICE stands for 'Smart Precise Impact and Cost Effective guidance kit-2000.

Emergency powers to be used

At the time of India's acquisition of around 200 of these bombs from Israel the defence minister had explained the strategic nature of this guided weapon. "SPICE-2000: IAF has acquired precision guided bombs with increased accuracy and penetration for use against fortified and underground command centres. This weapon has been tested and its capabilities have been validated at an IAF firing range," the ministry said in a press note in 2015.

In the immediate aftermath of the Balakot strike, there were reports that the Indian Air Force would equip its Sukhoi fighter jets with the Israeli-made Spice-2000 bombs in a major push to increase fire power. At the moment the SPICE bombs are only fitted on the Mirage 2000 fighter planes.

The sources told the agency that the government would make use of the emergency powers granted to the armed forces for the procurement of the strategic weapon. Under the emergency powers the military can buy any equipment worth up to Rs 300 crore.