Government clears defence acquisitions worth Rs80,000 crore

news
25 October 2014

The government today cleared defence purchases worth Rs80,000, which include six submarines to be indigenously manufactured and over 8,000 Israeli anti-tank guided missiles and 12 upgraded Dornier surveillance aircraft.

Spike ATGMS The decisions were taken at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) presided over by defence minister Arun Jaitley with defence secretary, the chiefs of all three services, DRDO chief and other senior officials attending it.

The Army's proposal to buy third-generation anti-tank guided missile systems worth an estimated Rs3,200 crore has been pending for long and Jaitley seems to have opted for Israel-made Rafael's Spike ATGMS rather than move ahead with the Pentagon's proposal for co-development and co-production of Javelin anti-tank guided missile system, which could take time.

During US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel's recent visit to the country in August, the US had offered not only to ''co-produce'' the ATGMs but also ''co-develop'' its fourth-generation version with India.

The Army will also purchase 321 launchers for the Spike missiles.

The Army had, in 2008, issued a request for proposals for advanced ATGMs and only Rafael of Israel and Paris-based MBDA, responded to the RFP.

While the Army was keen to buy the American Javelin ATGMs, jointly produced by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, the deal fell through after the US did not permit technology transfer.

Buying the Spike ATGM system from Israel would be against the idea of 'Make in India' as the equipment comes readymade from Israel.

Jaitley had, in a recent conference of top commanders of the armed forces, said that the process of military acquisitions, which had slowed down due to ''some controversies'', will be speeded up with at least one meeting per month of DAC.

"National security is of paramount concern for the government and all hurdles and bottlenecks in the procurement process should be addressed expeditiously," Jaitley said while clearing the procurement.

The Army will also get about 360 odd armoured personnel carriers built by the Ordinance Factory Board for about Rs2,000 crore.

The DAC cleared the acquisition of six conventional submarines to augment the ageing and depleted submarine fleet besides two midget submarines - also known as 'Swimmer Delivery Vehicles' - which are used for special operations.

Over the next two months, the Indian Navy will identify shipyards that can acquire the technology from foreign manufacturers and build them on schedule. The project to build the six submarines will involve an expenditure of Rs53,000 crore for the government.

The midget submarines that weigh less than 150 tonnes and can carry between 8 and 24 fully-armed commandos, would also come ready made.

In the midget submarines, the commandos are ejected through the torpedo tubes some miles away from the target, from where they can swim towards their target, complete the mission and swim back.

The Indian Navy will also get 12 more Dornier aircraft used for maritime surveillance. These will be built by the public sector defence unit Hindustan Aeronautic Limited at a total cost of Rs1,850 crore. The Navy has a fleet of 40 Dorniers. 

The DAC, which was set up in 2001 as part of the post-Kargil reforms in defence sector, approves the long-term integrated perspective plan for the armed forces, accords acceptance of necessity (AON) to begin acquisition proposals, and grants approval to all major deals.

It also has the power to approve any deviations in an acquisition, and recommend all big purchases for approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security.





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