India inks ₹300-crore deal to buy more ‘Balakot’ bombs
The Indian Air Force Thursday hammered out a ₹300-crore deal with Israel for around 100 Spice 2000 bombs, the weapon used during the February 26 air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot, two defence ministry officials said on the condition of anonymity.
Israeli defence firm Rafael Advanced Defence Systems manufactures the weapon.
This is the first military contract to be inked by the new government, said one of the officials cited above. The bombs are an emergency purchase and likely to be delivered by the year-end, said the second official. “The bombs are a critical operational requirement,” he added.
The air strikes against the JeM terror base were India’s response to the Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF men were killed on February 14. IAF’s Mirage 2000 fighters hit three targets in Balakot with five Spice bombs with penetrator warheads that allowed them to pierce through the rooftops before exploding inside to cause maximum damage. Each bomb was carrying around 80 kgs of explosives in a 900-kg steel casing, with the explosion caused by time-delay fuses sending a lethal quantity of shrapnel that would have instantly killed the occupants of the buildings. The bombs hit their targets in a vertical attack angle, leaving holes measuring 80 to 90 cm in diameter on the rooftops of the structures.
Pakistan has refused to acknowledge the damage caused by the IAF’s unprecedented, peace-time, cross-border strike. However, in an exclusive interview to HT in March, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa asserted that Indian fighter planes had struck their intended targets with precision.
Pakistan Air Force fighters made a failed attempt to bomb Indian military installations on February 27, leading to an aerial engagement along the LoC during which an Indian combat jet was shot down and its pilot captured and briefly detained by Pakistan.