The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) at the Centre Tuesday cleared the procurement of an additional batch of 97 ‘Tejas’ light combat aircraft and around 150 ‘Prachand’ helicopters in an historic deal, which is set to boost the overall combat capability of the Indian armed forces.
The Tejas Mk-1A Light Combat Aircraft is an indigenously designed and manufactured fourth-generation fighter with critical operational capabilities that include an active electronically-scanned array radar, an electronic warfare suite, and is capable of air-to-air refuelling.
It has been developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and is India’s first self-made fighter jet.
It received the final operational clearance for induction into the Indian Air Force as a fully-weaponized fighter jet in February 2019.
The first batch of Prachand Light Combat Helicopters was inducted into the IAF and the Army last year. The 5.8-tonne twin-engine helicopter, also developed by HAL, has a service ceiling of around 21,000 feet and has been primarily designed for deployment in high-altitude regions, including Siachen and the higher reaches of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh accorded approval for various capital acquisition proposals amounting to INR 2.23 lakh crore.
The DAC has also granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the upgradation of Su-30 MKI aircraft indigenously from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
AoN was accorded for procurement of two types of Anti-tank Munitions namely, Area Denial Munition (ADM) Type – 2 and Type-3, which are capable of neutralizing tanks and armoured personnel carriers.
Procurement of state-of-the-art Towed Gun System (TGS) has also been sanctioned. which will become a mainstay of artillery forces of the Indian Army. Towed gun systems are not only more mobile but also have longer barrels, and thus a longer firing range. AoN was also accorded for 155 mm Nubless projectile for use in 155 mm Artillery guns.
98% of the total amount, will be sourced from domestic industries with the aim to support the Central government’s ‘aatmanirbharta‘ plank in the area of defence, with thousands of jobs created.
This order makes it the largest indigenous manufacturers have received in India’s history. Contract negotiations will take place with manufacturers now and once a final price is negotiated, the last sign-off will be done by the Cabinet Committee on Security.
The final induction into the military however may take at least 10 years.
To help maintain the combat edge of the Russian T-90 tanks, the Council gave its nod for procurement and integration of automatic target trackers and advanced computer systems.
For the Navy, procurement has been sanctioned for medium-range anti-ship missiles, which are lightweight surface-to-surface projectiles to serve as a primary offensive weapon onboard.
All of these acquisitions will happen under the Buy (Indian-IDDM) category. IDDM stands for Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured.
‘While procurement of these equipment will provide enormous strength to the IAF, acquisition from domestic defence industries will take the indigenous capability to a new height. It will also reduce dependability on foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) substantially’ an official statament said.
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