DRDO/Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) advanced Long-Range Surface-To-Air missile

Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) unwittingly revealed its largest customer — India — to which it exported close to a billion dollars' worth of weapon systems last year (2023).

This is down 17 per cent from the year 2022.

IAI made this gaffe in its annual reports by listing dates of past transactions with its customers. Although the annual report did not explicitly name India (it mentioned Material Customer A), the dates listed can be matched with past public announcements made by IAI regarding deals with India.

For example, the annual report stated, “In October 2018, IAI entered into an agreement with a government company in Material Customer A's country for the joint manufacture and supply of air defence systems totalling $777 million.”

This perfectly aligns with IAI’s announcement that month stating that it had entered into an agreement with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) to supply the naval Barak 8 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system worth $777 million.

Multiple of these announcements can be matched with the listings in the annual reports, such as the further supply of Barak 8 SAM worth $1.6 billion in April 2017, a $550 million deal for the Sky Capture C3 system in October 2018, and many more.

In total, India ordered arms worth $953 million last year from IAI, with $94 million for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), $202 million for radars and electronic warfare (EW), and $631 million for missiles.

India is the world’s largest importer of arms with Russia being its largest supplier, closely followed by France, the US, and then Israel.

However, India’s domestic ammunition manufacturing ecosystem is now rising to the occasion.

Just yesterday (8 May), Indian Army’s ADG (Procurement) Major General V K Sharma announced that India has become self-sufficient in domestic ammunition production, with the army planning to order ammunitions only from Indian vendors.

Maj Gen Sharma stated, “In the next financial year (2025-26), we will not have any import of ammunition, other than in cases where the quantity is too low and it is not economical for the industry to manufacture them.”

According to Maj Gen Sharma, the army has found indigenous suppliers for 150 of the 175 ammunition types in its inventory.

The army usually procures ₹8,000 to ₹6,000 crore worth of weapons and ammunition, contracts for most of which will now go to Indian suppliers.

It appears that the intense efforts of the entire military-industrial ecosystem, including the government of India, Ministry of Defence, all three services, and the private manufacturers, are now bearing fruit.

(With Reporting by Swarajyamag.com)