India to get 156 more Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Prachand, that were inducted last year. (File)
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) gave its nod to the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for capital acquisition procurement worth Rs 2.23 lakh crore.
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The DAC, headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, has given its go-ahead for the procurement of 97 more Tejas MK-1A fighter jets for the Indian Air Force and 156 more Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Prachand, that were inducted last year.
Both aircraft are indigenously developed and the value of these deals is around Rs 1.1 lakh crore. The LCH Prachand and Tejas fighter have been developed by the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The induction of Tejas will help indigenize the fighter fleet of the IAF which is mostly comprised of Russian, and French fighters.
The AON is not just for the Air Force, but also for the Army and the Navy, making it the biggest defence order in Indian history. The AoN is not the last step before the final procurement.
After the AoN, contracts will be negotiated with the manufacturers and after that, they will be sent to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) which is headed by the Prime Minister. It would still take several years for the procurement to take place.
Apart from the order for Prachand and Tejas, the AoN has been accorded for the upgrade of the Su-30MKI fighter jets. The upgrade focuses on procuring equipment from domestic manufacturers and increasing the indigenous content in weapons and platforms. The aim is to reduce dependence on Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), like Sukhoi for Su-30MKI.
The T-90 Bhishma tanks, which form the pillar of the army's tank fleet along with the T-72 and MBT Arjun, will be upgraded with Automatic Target Tracking System (ATSS) and Digital Basaltic Computer under the Buy (India) Category of the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP), a guide for all capital procurement in India. The T-90 Bhishma were deployed in Ladakh during the India-China border conflict.
AoN has been given for 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. ADM is a weapon used against an advancing enemy. They are used as land mines against Tanks and APCs.
The field guns, which the army has been using for many years and have completed their service life, will be replaced by the Towed Artillery Gun System (ATGS). The AoN seeks to make towed artillery the mainstay of the Army's artillery regiment with 155 mm calibre munition as the standard. The Dhanush Howitzer, DRDO's Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), and M777 Howitzer are some towed artillery guns that the army operates.
The AoN has given for procurement of Medium Range Anti-Ship Missiles (MRAShM) for a surface platform of the Indian Navy under the Buy (Indian-IDDM) category in DAP. IDDM refers to Indigenous Designed and Manufactured.
The MRAShM is envisaged as a lightweight Surface-to-Surface Missile which will be a primary offensive weapon onboard Indian Naval Ships.