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India, Russia sign pact for Smerch rockets

New Delhi, Aug 28 (IANS) India and Russia have tied up for a joint venture to manufacture Smerch rockets.

A memorandum of understanding for starting the joint venture was signed between India's Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and Russia's Rosoboronexport and Splav SPA here Monday, the defence ministry said Tuesday.

The technology for the five versions of Smerch rockets will come from Russia.

"OFB signed a MoU for a joint venture with Rosoboronexport and Splav SPA to manufacture five versions of Smerch Rockets based on the technology received from Russia," a ministry statement said.

Smerch rockets are a hi-tech weapon system with a range of 70-80 km.

"The MoU, duly approved by Defence Minister A.K. Antony, has been signed by three parties in New Delhi," it said.

After indigenising the technology of Smerch rockets, OFB will attain new heights in manufacturing of the advanced rocket system, it added.

Russia is India's largest defence partner with over 70 percent of Indian armed forces equipment coming from that country.

The two nations already have a successful joint venture in the design, development and manufacture of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.

They have also tied up for the joint design and development of the fifth generation fighter aircraft and the medium transport aircraft.

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