Underscoring the government’s commitment to indigenous defence capabilities, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), under the Chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, approved proposals to procure Rs 2.23 lakh crore of defence equipment from domestic companies on Thursday to bolster the combat capabilities of the armed forces.
Procurement of Light Combat Helicopters & Light Combat Aircraft Mk 1A from HAL gets a nod
The Council has cleared procurement of two of India’s biggest-ever fighter aircraft projects worth Rs 1.3 lakh crore – an additional batch of 97 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark I and indigenously upgrading 84 Su-30 MKI fighter jets under the Buy (Indian-IDDM) category from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF). It has also cleared the proposal to procure over 150 Prachand Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) for the Indian Air Force and Indian Army.
The Indian Air Force has already ordered 83 LCA Mark1A fighter jets, and their deliveries are expected to start in February-March 2024. The value of the 97 aircraft is expected to be around Rs 65,000 crore, which would be the largest fighter aircraft deal in the country. While procuring this equipment will provide enormous strength to the IAF, acquisition from domestic defence industries will take indigenous capability to new heights. The MoD statement said it will also substantially reduce dependability on foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
Medium Range Anti-Ship Missiles for surface platform of Indian Navy accorded approval
The DAC accorded approval for Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the procurement of Medium Range Anti-Ship Missiles (MRAShM) for the surface platform of the Indian Navy under the Buy (Indian-IDDM) category. ThMRAShM is envisaged as a lightweight surface-to-surface missile, which will be a primary offensive weapon onboard Indian naval ships.
Acquisition of Towed Gun System cleared to replace Indian Field Gun
To replace the Indian Field Gun (IFG), which has completed its service life, AoN for procurement of a state-of-the-art Towed Gun System (TGS) has been granted, which will become a mainstay of artillery forces of the Indian Army.
The AoN was also accorded for a 155 mm Nubless projectile for use in 155 mm artillery guns, which will enhance the lethality and safety of the projectiles. All this equipment of the Indian Army will be procured under the Buy (Indian-IDDM) category.
The Council has accorded the AoN for procurement of two types of Anti-tank Munitions: Area Denial Munition (ADM) Type-2 and Type-3, which are capable of neutralising tanks and armoured personnel carriers and enemy personnel.
The AoN for procurement and integration of Automatic Target Tracker (ATT) and Digital Basaltic Computer (DBC) for T-90 Tanks under the Buy (Indian) category have also been accorded, which will help in maintaining a combative edge of T-90 tanks over adversary platforms.
98% to be sourced from domestic industries in major boost to ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence
In a statement, the Ministry highlighted that 98 per cent of these platforms and equipment would be sourced from domestic industries. “This will give a substantial boost to the Indian Defence Industry towards the aim of achieving the goal of ‘Aatmanirbharta’,” the statement said.
The DAC has approved a major Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020 amendment. It has been decided that henceforth, in all procurement cases, a minimum of 50 per cent of indigenous content shall be in the form of material, components and software manufactured in India. To calculate indigenous content, the cost of the Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC)/Comprehensive Maintenance Contract (CMC)/After Sale Service shall be excluded.
AlSo, the DAC has made the decision to encourage start-ups/MSMEs’ participation in the defence ecosystem. For all procurement cases with AoN costs up to Rs 300 crore, registered MSMEs and recognised start-ups will be considered for the issue of Request for Proposal (RFP) without any stipulation of financial parameters, which can further be relaxed with approval of the Defence Procurement Board (DPB) for AoN cost upto Rs 500 crore on a case-to-case basis.