There’s a good reason why the Indian Army’s fleet of Rudra’ light attack helicopters are flying about without missiles in their launchers. Negotiations for the purchase of 450 Mistral missiles worth around `3,000 crore have been stuck for the past three years reportedly over an unusual price itemstorage shelters.
The missiles are to equip the weaponised variants of the HAL-built ALH helicopters.The MoD indicated it would pay only around Rs 200 crore for the missile storage shelters to be built at 11 locations across the country. The French manufacturer MBDA insisted on a higher price. The number of forward locations where the shelters were to be built were reduced to around five places.
The MoD negotiating team is now believed to be close to taking an approval from the defence minister to revise the benchmark price and end the deadlock.