The defence sector has received a substantial boost of ₹2.23 lakh crore, indicating a strong commitment to enhancing India’s military capabilities. The allocated funds will be utilized for upgrading jets in the Indian Air Force, acquiring new guns for the army, and other critical advancements in defence infrastructure.
The Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, has approved Acceptance of Necessity (AoNs) for capital acquisition proposals totalling ₹2.23 lakh crore. This signals a significant step in advancing various defence initiatives and bolstering the country’s military capabilities.
Of the total approved amount of ₹2.23 lakh crore, a substantial 98% (₹2.20 lakh crore) will be sourced from domestic industries. This move is expected to provide a significant boost to the Indian Defence Industry, aligning with the goal of ‘Aatmanirbharta’ (self-reliance). The emphasis on utilizing domestic resources highlights a strategic effort to strengthen indigenous defence capabilities and reduce dependence on foreign acquisitions.
The Defence Acquisition Council has granted the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for procuring two types of Anti-tank Munitions: Area Denial Munition (ADM) Type-2 and Type-3.
Area Denial Munition Type 2
This ammunition, designed for the Multi Barrel Rocket System, utilizes an existing ground system, propulsion, and launcher POD assembly. The proposed Transfer of Technology (TOT) focuses on the warhead, accommodating ADM type-II munitions. The warhead comprises an aluminium alloy ogive and shell assemblies, housing sub-munitions in six layers, each containing three units. These sub-munitions are strategically packed for axial symmetry within the casing. A crucial design aspect is the ejection of these munitions near the target, achieved through a Flexible Liner liner-shaped charge (FLSC) and a spring-based force ejection mechanism, validated through dynamic trials.
The munition incorporates the necessary kill mechanism and a Safety and Arming Mechanism (SAM) to ensure safety during handling, storage, and transportation. The SAM also contributes to launcher and flight safety. An electromagnetic fuze initiates the munition, detecting changes in magnetic flux when a tank passes over. The fuze includes an anti-tilt device and self-destruct capability for added safety measures.
The Indian Army has approved the procurement of a cutting-edge Towed Gun System (TGS) to replace the ageing Indian Field Gun (IFG) that has reached the end of its service life. This new TGS is set to become a crucial asset for the artillery forces of the Indian army.
This artillery system is equipped with a barrel, breech mechanism, muzzle brake, and recoil system, firing 155 mm ammunition up to 48 km. Notably, it features an all-electric drive for reliability and low maintenance, boasting high mobility, quick deployability, and an auxiliary power mode. With advanced communication and automatic command systems, including night capability, it’s two tons lighter than comparable guns, ensuring improved accuracy and range. Additionally, it seamlessly integrates with C3I systems like the Artillery Combat Command and Control System (ACCCS), known as Shakti, for technical fire control, planning, and logistical management in the Indian Army.
Approval of the AoN (Acceptance of Necessity) was granted for the 155 mm Nubless projectile, designed for use in 155 mm Artillery guns. This projectile aims to improve both lethality and safety. The procurement of this equipment for the Indian Army falls under the Buy (Indian-IDDM) category.
The AoN has been approved for acquiring and integrating the Automatic Target Tracker (ATT) and Digital Basaltic Computer (DBC) for T-90 Tanks. This falls under the Buy (India) category, and the implementation of these systems is expected to enhance the T-90 tanks’ combat effectiveness, maintaining an edge over adversary platforms.
The Normalized Area Correlation algorithm helps assess target correlation for tracking. Target deviation computation aids in determining how much the target has deviated. Sending error signals to the Main Sight System allows for adjustments based on tracking discrepancies. Maintaining a stable image sensor-to-target line of sight ensures accurate and consistent tracking.
A Digital Basaltic Computer processes information discretely using binary code, consisting of the digits 0 and 1. The Approval of Necessity (AoN) for procuring medium-range anti-ship Missiles (MRAShM) for the Indian Navy’s surface platforms, under the Buy (Indian-IDDM) category, has been granted. The MRAShM is designed as a lightweight Surface-to-Surface Missile, serving as a key offensive weapon on Indian Naval Ships.
The Missile Rapid Afloat Sprint Anti-ship Missile (MRAShM) integration on 24 warships within the Indian Navy represents a strategic advancement. This deployment spans various vessel classes, including the esteemed Delhi-class destroyers, agile Kora-class missile corvettes, and upcoming Next Generation Missile Vessels (NGMV). These additions are poised to replace the existing Zvezda Kh-35 Uran anti-ship missile systems on these platforms.
The significance of this upgrade lies in the considerable enhancement of the Navy’s offensive capabilities. The MRAShM’s extended range, heightened precision, and advanced anti-ship warfare functionalities collectively contribute to a formidable deterrent against potential adversaries. This not only modernizes the Navy’s arsenal but also bolsters its overall maritime defence posture.
By incorporating MRAShM, the Indian Navy is better equipped to safeguard its territorial waters and assertively protect its maritime interests. The missile’s improved capabilities offer a robust response to evolving security challenges, underscoring the nation’s commitment to maintaining a credible maritime presence. Overall, this strategic move reinforces India’s maritime security and underscores its commitment to staying at the forefront of naval technology.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the procurement of Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) for both the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Army. Additionally, AoNs were given for the procurement of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mk 1A for the IAF. These acquisitions will be facilitated through Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) under the Buy (Indian-IDDM) category, emphasizing indigenous manufacturing.
Furthermore, the DAC has accorded AoNs for the indigenous upgradation of Su-30 MKI Aircraft, a significant move to enhance the capabilities of these aircraft. This underscores the commitment to bolstering the nation’s defence capabilities by modernizing existing assets and incorporating advanced indigenous technologies.
The Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) is designed to meet the Indian Air Force’s need for a dedicated light helicopter in combat scenarios. It shares maximum commonality with the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and features a narrow fuselage with a tandem configuration for the pilot and co-pilot/gunner. Notable characteristics include stealth features, armour protection, night attack capability, and crash-worthy landing gear to enhance survivability.
Key Features of LCH:
- Glass Cockpit: A modern cockpit that uses electronic displays (glass screens) instead of traditional analogue gauges, providing pilots with comprehensive and customizable information.
- Crashworthy Bottom Structure: The aircraft’s lower part is designed to minimize damage and enhance occupant safety in the event of a crash.
- Crashworthy Fixed Tricycle-Type Landing Gear with a Tail Wheel: Landing gear designed to absorb impact energy during a crash, with a fixed tricycle arrangement (three wheels) and an additional tail wheel.
- Canted Flat Panels for Low Radar Cross Section: The flat panels on the aircraft are angled to reduce its radar signature, making it less detectable by radar systems.
- Integrated Dynamic System: A holistic approach where various dynamic components of the aircraft (such as engines, rotors, etc.) are integrated to optimize overall performance.
- Hingeless Main Rotor / Bearingless Tail Rotor: Advanced rotor systems that eliminate traditional hinges and bearings, reducing maintenance and enhancing reliability.
- Anti-Resonance Isolation System: Technology designed to dampen vibrations and prevent resonance, enhancing the stability and comfort of the aircraft.
- Integrated Architecture and Display System (IADS): A unified system that integrates various avionic functions and displays for streamlined control and monitoring.
- IR Suppressor: Infrared suppressor technology reduces the infrared signature emitted by the aircraft, making it less vulnerable to infrared-guided missiles.
- Counter-Measuring Dispensing System (CMDS): A system that dispenses countermeasures, such as flares or chaff, to evade or confuse incoming missiles.
- EO Pod, Helmet Mounted Display System & EW Suite: An Electro-Optical pod, Helmet Mounted Display System, and Electronic Warfare Suite, enhancing the aircraft’s sensory capabilities and defensive capabilities against electronic threats.
- 20mm Gun, 70mm Rockets & Missiles: Armaments including a 20mm gun and 70mm rockets, provide the aircraft with firepower for various missions.
- Air-to-Air Missiles (ATAM): Missiles designed for air-to-air combat, allowing the aircraft to engage other aerial targets.
- Air-to-Ground Missiles (ATGM): Missiles designed for air-to-ground attacks, enabling the aircraft to engage surface targets.
These features collectively contribute to a versatile and advanced aircraft capable of handling various mission requirements.
The procurement of equipment from domestic defence industries not only strengthens the Indian Air Force (IAF) but also elevates indigenous capabilities, reducing reliance on foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). A significant development is the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020 amendment, mandating a minimum of 50% indigenous content in material, components, and software for all procurement categories.
Moreover, to foster participation from start-ups and MSMEs in the defence ecosystem, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved a measure. For procurement cases with an Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) cost of up to ₹300 crore, registered MSMEs and recognized start-ups can receive a Request for Proposal (RFP) without financial parameter stipulations. This flexibility can be extended, with Defence Procurement Board (DPB) approval, for AoN costs up to ₹500 crore on a case-by-case basis.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved the acquisition of an additional batch of 97 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft for the Indian Air Force. In addition, the council has given initial approval for the procurement of around 150 Prachand helicopters and the upgrade of the Su-30 fighter fleet. These decisions mark significant steps in strengthening India’s air capabilities.
The initial version of the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) was inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2016. Recently, two squadrons, namely 45 Squadron and 18 Squadron, are fully operational with the Tejas LCA. As an indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured aircraft, the Tejas is poised to become the largest fleet of fighter aircraft operated by the Indian Air Force in the years ahead, showcasing the country’s commitment to enhancing its indigenous defence capabilities.