SOURCE: VIHAAN KAPOOR / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
After India decided to procure $1-billion National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II) safeguard crucial facilities in Capital New Delhi on recommendation of Washington, comes another shocker of the deal which is likely to be discussed in India-US 2+2 Dialogue in Delhi on September 6 that of India purchasing Tomahawk subsonic cruise missile for Indian Navy as reported in Economic Times.
Tomahawk will be procured for deployment on frontline warships and submarines against surface targets according to the report. If a deal on Tomahawk does take place then Indian Navy will be the third operator after United States Navy and Royal Navy to induct them in its service.
Tomahawk missiles which made its debut in first Gulf War in 1991 have been part of every military operation US Military has been involved in, since then. Legendary Cruise missile system has gone through several rounds of major upgrades and major improvement over the years and Tomahawk Block IV is presently in production and will continue to remain the mainstay of the offensive capacities of the United States Navy for decades to come.
Tomahawk sale to India will come as a shocker to many close Nato allies of the United States of America who in past have been denied the sale of the missile system by Washington. Yes, Tomahawk has been part of Nato offenses, but operated from US platforms.
Government ditching Nirbhay?
If India does procure Tomahawk subsonic cruise missiles from the United States of America does that mean that indigenous development of Nirbhay subsonic cruise missile by DRDO has been dropped? While there is no clarity on the program yet but repeated delays and increasing Chinese naval activities could be the reason why the government has decided to procure them from abroad while development of Nirbhay continues in India.
Out of Five Trials of Nirbhay cruise missile by DRDO in last 6 years, only Two trials have been successful and development of only Army variant had taken place while development of Naval variant was yet to start. Tomahawk could be interim purchase until Naval variant of Nirbhay cruise missile is developed by DRDO in near future.