Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow, the government Thursday cleared an approximately Rs 30,000-crore plan to purchase five units of Russian S- 400 Triumph air defence missile system.
The acquisition will pave the way towards plugging the gaps in the existing air defence (AD) capability of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Besides S- 400, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by defence minister Manohar Parrikar also cleared the purchase of about Rs 25,500 crore worth of defence equipment, including the crucial six regiments of Pinaka rocket system, for the Indian Army.
The DAC approval, which means the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) of these equipment, gives the go-ahead to the process of purchasing them.
“The acquisition of S-400 missile defence system will enhance air defence capability and give the nation the capability to ward off threat due to long-range surveillance assets and stand off weapons at an economical cost,” a defence ministry source said.
Sources said the final cost will be discussed during the price negotiation stage. Hopes are high that a further concrete announcement will be made during PM Modi’s Moscow visit this month.
The S-400 missile, developed by Russian Almaz-Antey, will enhance IAF’s long-range air defence capabilities. The 400-km range system, which has been deployed by Russia in Syria, will augment the existing AD set-up of the IAF, which involves the home-made Akash missile system, Israeli Spyder and Igla, among others.
The council also cleared a Rs 1,200-crore acquisition of 24 Pechora air defence system. Another clearance to a Rs 450-crore project to develop 120 trolls for the T- 72 and T- 90 tanks for the Army has been extended partly to the DRDO.
The council cleared Rs 25,000-crore worth of equipment under the Make in India programme. Among the most significant is the clearance to six regiments of Pinaka Multi- Barrel rocket system for the Army. The Army had envisaged creation of 10 regiments of Pinaka by 2017. While four regiments have already been cleared, the six on Thursday will speed up the envisaged plan.
The council has also given the go-ahead to the development of five Fleet Support Ships for the Navy by state-owned Hindustan Shipyards Limited, which has recently finished the delayed overhaul of Sindhukirti submarine. The FSVs, which function like floating workshops, will ensure serviceability of Indian Navy ships in the high seas. The council also cleared the purchase of 571 light bullet-proof vehicles.