As the government expects the standoff with China to continue well into the winters, and the armed forces ready for the long-haul, preparing for all eventualities, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Rajanth Singh on Thursday cleared several proposals worth close to Rs 39,000 crore that will boost the combat capabilities of all three services—Army, Navy and the Air Force.
The most prominent of these proposals include missile systems for the three services, and additional fighter jets for the Air Force. The aircraft will be bought from Russia, and also from the domestic Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
Government said in a statement, that “in the current situation and the need to strengthen the Armed Forces for the defence of our borders” the DAC “accorded approval for capital acquisitions of various platforms and equipment required by the Indian Armed Forces” for an “approximate cost of Rs 38900 crore”.
The approvals, it said, “include acquisitions from Indian Industry of Rs 31,130 crore”. A large number of these projects, government said, have been made possible due to Transfer of Technology by DRDO to the Indigenous Industry.
G Satheesh Reddy, Chairman of Defence Research and Development Organisation called the air-to-air Astra missile, Pinaka munitions and Land Attack Cruise Missile as “state of the art systems developed by DRDO”. He said the “armed forces and industry will be immensely benefitted with the manufacturing of these indigenous systems”.
Pinaka missile system for the Army
It will enable raising additional regiments over and above the ones already inducted. It is an all-weather, indirect fire, free flight artillery rocket system, according to the DRDO.
“It provides a unique capability to accurately deliver a devastatingly lethal and responsive fire against a variety of area targets such as exposed enemy troops, armored 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, Replenishment Vehicle and Digicora MET Radar.”
Astra Missiles for Navy and Air Force
Astra Missiles, with Beyond Visual Range capability will serve as a force multiplier and immensely add to the strike capability of Navy and Air Force, the government said on Thursday.
The BVR class of Air-to-Air Missile (AAM) system designed to be mounted on fighter aircraft, says DRDO and adds that it 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).”
MIG 29 & Su-30 MKI Fighter jets
To address the long felt need of the Indian Air Force to increase its fighter squadrons, the government said, the DAC approved procurement of 21 MIG-29 from Russia. It is a twin-engine, multirole fighter jets, developed by the Soviets in 1970s, but has been upgraded since. Russia will also upgrade existing 59 Mig-29 aircraft of India. The deal will cost Rs 7,418 crore.
Government will also buy 12 Sukhoi Su-30 MKI from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited at an estimated cost of Rs 10,730 crore.
Development of Long-Range Land Attack Cruise Missile Systems (LRLACM) for Navy and Air Force
It is aimed at enhancing India’s firing range from between 400 km and 500 km of the Brahmos to 1000 km. DRDO says “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”.
The seeker development and testing by DRDO laboratories, it said, are demonstrated and is at a high-level of readiness. The proposed development of fully indigenous long-range land attack cruise missile can greatly enhance the operational capability of services, DRDO says.
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