Defence minister clears Rs4,276-cr weapons acquisition for Army, Navy

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for three capital acquisition proposals, amounting to Rs4,276 crore. All the three proposals - two of the Indian Army and one of the Indian Navy - are under the Buy (Indian-IDDM) category.

The DAC accorded AoN for procurement of HELINA Anti-Tank Guided Missiles, launchers and associated support equipment which will be integrated to the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH). This missile is an essential part of weaponisation of ALH for countering enemy threat. Its induction will strengthen the offensive capability of Indian Army, a defence ministry release stated.
The HELINA and Dhruvastra being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are third generation, Lock on Before Launch fire and forget ATGMs meant for the indigenous ALH and the Light Combat Helicopter. Helina is the Army variant and Dhruvastra is the Air Force variant.
The DAC also accorded AoN for procurement of VSHORAD (IR Homing) missile system under design and development by DRDO. In view of the recent developments along the northern borders there is a need to focus on effective Air Defence (AD) weapon systems which are man portable and can be deployed quickly in rugged terrain and maritime domain. Procurement of VSHORAD, as a robust and quickly deployable system, will strengthen the forces’ air defence capabilities, the release stated.
The Army has a major requirement for VSHORAD and several attempts to import the systems have not materialised. A major deal with Russia, which was shortlisted in a bidding, has been stuck for several years and is on the verge of cancellation.
Further, the DAC granted approval for procurement of Brahmos launcher and fire control system (FCS) for the Shivalik class of ships and Next Generation Missile Vessels (NGMVs) for Indian Navy. With the induction of these missile systems, these ships would have enhanced capability of carrying out maritime strike operations, interdicting and destroying enemy’s warships and merchant vessels.
In the interim, in the backdrop of the standoff in eastern Ladakh, the Army made an emergency procurement of Igla-S systems from Russia. The contract was signed in December 2020 and the equipment was delivered by December 2021. This includes 24 launchers, 216 missiles and testing equipment.