India Intent on National Defence

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India Intent on National Defence

Saturday, 02 March 2024 | Pioneer News Service | NEW DELHI

India Intent on National Defence

India on Friday sealed five major defence acquisition contracts worth       `39,125 crore, including the procurement of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, radars, weapon systems, and aero-engines for MiG-29 jets, as part of efforts to boost the combat capabilities of the armed forces.

The mega procurement projects were finalised amid India’s lingering border row with China in eastern Ladakh, and they will be implemented under the broad framework of the Government’s policy to enhance domestic defence manufacturing.

The contracts for the procurement of the platforms and weapon systems were signed in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane, under whose guidance these deals were finalised, according to an official statement.

“These deals will further strengthen indigenous capabilities, save foreign exchange, and reduce dependency on foreign-origin equipment manufacturers in the future,” the statement said.

Two separate deals were finalised for the procurement of BrahMos missiles. The first one is for the procurement of BrahMos missiles from the BrahMos Aerospace Private Ltd (BAPL) at a cost of `19,518.65 crore.

“These missiles would be utilised to meet combat outfit and training requirements of the Indian Navy,” the Defence Ministry said. The second contract is for the procurement of the ship-borne BrahMos system from the BAPL at a cost of `988 crore.

These missiles will serve as the Indian Navy’s primary weapon for maritime strike operations, fitted onboard various frontline warships. Capable of hitting land or sea targets from extended ranges with pinpoint accuracy at supersonic speeds, the system enhances the Navy’s combat capabilities.

The deal for procurement of RD-33 Aero Engines for MiG-29 aircraft was signed with State-run aerospace giant Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), costing `5,249.72 crore. The aero engines, to be produced by the Koraput Division of HAL, will sustain the operational capability of the MiG-29 fleet for its residual service life, fulfilling the Indian Air Force’s needs.

Manufactured under transfer of technology license from the Russian original equipment maker, the programme will focus on indigenisation of several high-value critical components, enhancing the indigenous content of future repair and overhaul tasks of RD-33 aero-engines.

Additionally, a deal with Larsen and Toubro Ltd for procurement of a batch of close-in weapon systems (CIWS) was signed at a cost of Rs 7,668.82 crore. This CIWS will provide terminal air defense to select locations of the country, boosting and encouraging active participation of Indian aerospace, defense, and associated industries, including MSMEs.

Furthermore, a contract for procurement of high-power radar systems was signed with Larsen and Toubro Limited at a cost of Rs 5,700 crore. These radar systems will replace existing long-range radars of the IAF with modern active aperture phased array based HPR, featuring advanced surveillance capabilities.

“It will significantly enhance the terrestrial air defence capabilities of IAF with integration of sophisticated sensors capable of detection of small radar cross section targets,” the Ministry said.

“It will boost to indigenous radar manufacturing technology as it would be first of its kind radar built by the private sector in India,” the Ministry said.

The signing of the two contracts for procurement of BrahMos missiles followed approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for the acquisition, clearing the way for over 200 supersonic cruise missiles and associated equipment.

The procurement will include a mix of BrahMos missiles with ranges of approximately 290 km and the latest extended-range variant with a range of about 450 km.

BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd, an India-Russian joint venture, manufactures these supersonic cruise missiles, deployable from submarines, ships, aircraft, or land platforms.

Flying at a speed of 2.8 Mach, or nearly three times the speed of sound, the BrahMos missile boasts impressive capabilities.

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