The Ministry of Defence is set to clear a Rs 12,000-crore proposal of the Indian Army to procure new generation air defence missiles to replace its ageing Russian systems. A boost for the transport wing of the Indian Air Force is also on the cards with the purchase of an additional 14 Dornier aircraft likely to be given the go-ahead on Thursday.
The Army is seeking to procure eight regiments of Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missiles (QRSAMs) to replace the Russian Kvadrat systems that have reached obsolescence. Sources said the proposal was set to be given a go-ahead by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) that is meeting on Thursday.
After a clearance by the DAC,the Army will float a global tender to purchase the systems. The Rs 12,000-crore tag makes it one of the largest-ever global contracts floated by the Army. Defence PSU Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) will be the designated partner agency for the maintenance transfer of technology that will be required in the contract.
The DAC is also likely to give the go-ahead for 14 additional Dornier transport aircraft for the IAF that will boost its fleet level up from the current 41. The aircraft used in light transport or personnel carrier roles will be procured from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited at a cost of over Rs 1,000 crore.
A go-ahead for the procurement of the QRSAMs will come as a major relief for the Army that is struggling with an obsolete air defence network. This is the second time in the last five years that the Army will try to obtain the systems after the indigenous Akash systems as well as an earlier round of procurement failed to meet its requirements.
Earlier this year,the Army had floated a request for information for the systems that was responded to by most global missile manufacturers. It is looking for a quick reaction system that can engage targets at a range of 15 km at a minimum altitude of 6,000 metres in under six seconds.