Defence Acquisition Council Approves Capital Acquisition Proposals Worth Rs 2.23 Lakh Crore

In major boost to ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence, 98% to be sourced from domestic industries. Procurement of Light Combat Helicopters and Light Combat Aircraft Mk 1A from HAL gets a nod. Medium Range Anti-Ship Missiles for surface platform of Indian Navy accorded approval along with acquisition of Towed Gun System

Defence Industry

Rajnath Singh5

New Delhi: The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on November 30 approved the proposal for procurement of Rs 2.23 lakh crore defence equipment from domestic companies. It includes two of India’s biggest-ever fighter aircraft projects worth Rs 1.3 lakh crore i.e. buying 97 new LCA Mark 1A fighter aircraft and indigenously upgrading 84 Su-30 MKI combat planes.

With the Defence Acquisition Committee (DAC) approval for Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for 97 additional Tejas Mk1A, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will soon get indigenous Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’ Mk1A at the approximate cost of Rs 1.15 lakh crore. It also stamped its approval for indigenous 156 `Prachand’ Light Combat Helicopters (90 Army/66 IAF).

The DAC has accorded the AoN for procurement of two types of Anti-tank Munitions namely, Area Denial Munition (ADM) Type – 2 and Type-3, which are capable of neutralising Tanks and Armoured personnel carriers and enemy personnel. To replace the Indian Field Gun (IFG), which has completed its service life, AoN for procurement of state-of-the-art Towed Gun System (TGS) has been granted which will become a mainstay of Artillery forces of Indian Army. The AoN was also accorded for 155 mm Nubless projectile for use in 155 mm Artillery guns which will enhance lethality and safety of the projectiles. All these equipment of the Indian Army will be procured under Buy (Indian-IDDM) category.

The AoN for procurement and integration of Automatic Target Tracker (ATT) and Digital Basaltic Computer (DBC) for T-90 Tanks under Buy (India) category have also been accorded which will help in maintaining combative edge of T-90 tanks over adversary platforms. The AoN for procurement of Medium Range Anti-Ship Missiles (MRAShM) for surface platform of Indian Navy under Buy (Indian-IDDM) category has also been accorded. The MRAShM is envisaged as a lightweight Surface-to-Surface Missile which will be a primary offensive weapon onboard Indian Naval Ships.

Having already ordered 83 LCA Mark1A fighter planes, the Indian Air Force expects their deliveries to start in February-March 2024. The value of the 97 aircraft is expected to be around Rs 65,000 crore which would be the largest ever fighter aircraft deal in the country. Earlier this year, IAF initiated a proposal to purchase 97 more Tejas LCA Mk1A jets from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Two squadrons of Tejas Mk1 jets are already being operated by the Air Force. The additional 97-jet order would add another five squadrons in the fleet of IAF which is in the process of phasing out the MiG-21s. Thus, the indigenous fighter jets will form a significant strength of the IAF in near future.

The upgrade plan of Su-30MKI fleet is also seen by the Indian Air Force as an opportunity for exports as many countries in Southeast Asia and Africa operate the plane and can use these solutions to provide advanced capabilities to their fleets. The Su-30 fighter jets are the mainstay of the Indian Air Force with 260 of them already in service. The jets have been inducted in different batches and have now formed around 50 per cent of the fighter fleet.

Further to maximise indigenisation, the DAC has accorded approval for a major amendment in the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020. It has been decided that henceforth, in all categories of procurement cases, minimum 50% of indigenous content shall be in the form of material, components & software that are manufactured in India. For the purpose of calculation of Indigenous content, cost of Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC)/Comprehensive Maintenance Contract (CMC)/After Sale Service shall be excluded. Also, the DAC has taken decision to further encourage start-ups/MSMEs participation in the defence ecosystem. For all procurement cases with AoN cost upto Rs 300 crore, registered MSMEs and recognised start-ups will be considered for issue of Request for Proposal (RFP) without any stipulation of financial parameters, which can further be relaxed with approval of Defence Procurement Board (DPB) for AoN cost upto Rs 500 crore on case-to-case basis.