Russia Has Sold to India Anti-tank Missiles to Arm Its Mi-25/35 Helicopters Totaling $29 Million

NEW DELHI, (BM) – The Indian Air Force (IAF) has signed a INR2 billion ($29 million) deal with Russia for the acquisition of an undisclosed number of 9M120 Ataka (AT-9 ‘Spiral-2’) anti-tank missiles to arm its fleet of Mil Mi-25/35 ‘Hind’ twin-engined attack helicopters, learned, quoting Jane`s.

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Official sources told on 1 July that the IAF signed a contract in late June with Russia’s state-owned export agency, Rosoboronexport, to acquire the precision-guided weapons, deliveries of which are scheduled to begin later this year.

They said the Ataka missiles are expected to equip two IAF squadrons comprising 20-odd Mi-25/35s, most of which are deployed along India’s northern and western borders with Pakistan. Each of these platforms is capable of carrying up to eight Ataka missiles with a strike range of up to 6 km.

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No details were provided about the Ataka variant(s) that were ordered.

Military sources told that the deal was signed under the newly enhanced emergency financial powers granted to all three Indian military services in late 2018 to make ‘critical’ materiel purchases of up to INR5 billion each time to meet ‘urgent’ operational needs.

In this context they said this new financial provision was invoked by the IAF after the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had proven unsuccessful in procuring the missiles, despite years of negotiation.

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The order comes as the IAF expects the first four of 22 Boeing ‘AH-64E (I)’ Apache Guardian attack helicopters it ordered in 2015 for INR139.5 billion to arrive in India later in July. The Apaches will be transported by a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft to the Pathankot Air Force Station in northern India, close to the Pakistan border, where they will be commissioned into service and supplement the IAF’s Mi-25/35 helicopter squadrons.

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Source: Jane`s