India's defence ministry has scrapped a $500 million deal with Israeli guided weapons specialist Rafael, instead asking its Defence Research and Development Organisation to provide an indigenous alternative.

Rafael had been teamed with local company Kalyani Strategic Systems to supply Spike series missiles for use by India's land forces, including helicopter-launched examples.

The Israeli company's air-launched portfolio includes the Spike ER, with an effective range of up to 4.3nm (8km), and the 5.4nm-capable Spike LR2, which is optimised for use against vehicles equipped with active armour.

Indian sources indicate that New Delhi's decision stems from a desire to create a local weapon to meet the army's requirements, rather than import an existing product.

Rafael says it has yet to receive any official confirmation that the programme has been abandoned. It adds that it has "proven that our missiles are the best solution for the Indian defence forces", and "transferred the needed knowledge to our Indian partner".