In a bid to give a big push for indigenous design and development, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC)has approved acquisition of defence equipment worth of Rs. 31,130 crore from Indian defence industry. The decision comes in the wake of the prevailing situation at the borders with Tibet where both armies have been in a face-off for several weeks now. The DAC also approved acquisition of various platforms and equipment including a number of frontline fighter jets, missile systems required by the Indian Armed Forces for an approximate cost of Rs 38,900 crore.
“Focused on indigenous design and development, these approvals include acquisitions from Indian industry of Rs 31,130 crore. The equipment would be manufactured in India by Indian defence industries with participation of MSMEs as tiered vendors. The indigenous content in some of these projects is up to 80 per cent of the project cost. A large number of these projects have been made possible due to Transfer of Technology (ToT) by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to the indigenous industry. These include Pinakaammunition, BMP armament upgrades, software-defined radios for the Indian Army, Long Range Land Attack Cruise Missile Systems and Astra Missiles for the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force (IAF). The cost of these design and development proposals is in the range of Rs 20,400 crore,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement on 2 July after a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) under the Chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
To bolster the combat capabilities of armed forces it also cleared the acquisition of 248 Astra Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missiles for the Indian Air Force and the Navy. Design and development of a new 1,000 km strike range Land Attack Cruise Missile by the DRDO has also been cleared. “The acquisition of new/additional missile systems will add to the firepower of three Services. While acquisition of Pinaka missile systems will enable raising additional regiments over and above the ones already inducted. Addition of Long Range Land Attack Missile Systems having a firing range of 1,000 km, to the existing arsenal will bolster the attack capabilities of the Navy and the Air Force. Similarly, induction of Astra Missiles having Beyond Visual Range capability will serve as a force multiplier and immensely add to the strike capability of the Navy and Air Force,” the statement said.
In an equally important decision, the DAChas also given approval to acquire 33 new fighter aircraft including 12 Su-30MKIs and 21 MiG-29s along with upgradation of 59 MiG-29s at a cost of Rs 18,148 crore.The Defence Ministry summed up the significance of the crucial decision by informing, “Addressing the long felt need of the Indian Air Force to increase its fighter squadrons, the DAC also approved the proposal for procurement of 21 MiG-29 along with upgradation of existing 59 MiG-29 aircraft and procurement of 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft,” While the MiG 29 procurement and upgradation from Russia is estimated to cost Rs 7,418 corer, the Su-30 MKI will be procured from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at an estimated cost of Rs 10,730 crore.
Reacting to the decision of the Ministry of Defence, Chairman DRDO, Dr G Satheesh Reddy said, “Air to air missile Astra, Software Defined Radio, Pinaka munitions and Land Attack Cruise Missile are state of the art systems developed by DRDO. Armed forces and industry will be immensely benefitted with the manufacturing of these indigenous systems”.
ASTRA is a Beyond Visual Range (BVR) class of Air-to-Air Missile (AAM) system designed to be mounted on fighter aircraft. The missile is designed to engage and destroy highly manoeuvring supersonic aircraft. The missile has all weather day and night capability. The missile is being developed in multiple variants to meet specific requirements. The ASTRA Mk-I Weapon System integrated with SU-30 Mk-I aircraft is being inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF).
It can be launched in autonomous and buddy mode of operation with features for Lock-On-Before Launch (LOBL) and Lock-On After Launch (LOAL).
Software Defined Radio (SDR)
SDR is a secure indigenous system with legacy communication support and secure digital voice/data communication for Naval application with 3 channel (2V/UHF band and 1HF band), 4-channel (2V/UHF band and 2L-band) for Tactical Communication and single channel operation in V/UHF (Manpack role) and UHF band (Handheld role).
Pinaka is aall-weather, indirect fire, free flight rocket artillery system. It provides a unique capability to accurately deliver devastatingly lethal fire against a variety of area targets such as exposed enemy troops, armour and soft skin vehicles, communication centers, air terminal complexes, fuel and ammunition dumps. The Pinaka weapon system consists of Rocket, Multi Barrel Rocket launcher, Battery Command Post, Loader cum Replenishment Vehicle and Digicora MET Radar.
Long Range Land Attack Cruise Missile (LRLACM)
Presently, lead in projects have developed, demonstrated and matured critical cruise missile technologies such as aerodynamic configuration, vertical launch using solid booster, thrust vector control system, booster separation, in-flight wing deployment, in-flight engine start and long range way-point navigation system. Seeker development and testing by DRDO laboratories have been demonstrated and are at a high level of readiness. Thus, it is important to take up the proposed development of fully indigenous long range land attack cruise missile that greatly enhances the operational capability of the services.