The modernisation of the Indian armed forces has been a long-drawn and continuous process. The Narendra Modi government has even stressed on the need to indigenise and fast-track the entire process so that the armed forces do not suffer due to lack of crucial weapons and equipments.
On Friday, the government updated the Parliament on the nature of defence procurements in the last two financial years.
The Defence Ministry makes defence procurements based on the security situation and requirements of the armed forces, advances in technology and the budgetary allocations.
According to information given by Minister of State for Defence Dr Subhash Bhamre to the Lok Sabha, the government inked 108 contracts aggregating Rs 1,12,736.81 crore for capital procurement of defence equipments. This includes ships, missiles, frigates, rockets, simulators, aircraft, helicopters and radars.
Bhamre revealed that the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has accorded 'Acceptance of Necessity' (AoN) for 114 cases with a total value of Rs 2,25,022 crore. This includes 155mm gun systems, helicopters, and warships.
Bhamre also highlighted that the changes in the newly promulgated Defence Procurement Procedure has provisions for taking swift decisions, promotes self-reliance and improves transparency and accountability in procurements.
Rafale fighter jets
Following the inking of the contract for 36 Rafale aircraft with France, the aircraft will be arriving in fly-away condition. Bhamre revealed that the deliveries will start from September, 2019.
S-400 and Kamov helicopters
Though India signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with Russia for five Firing Units of S-400 Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) system and associated equipments, and for procurement of Kamov helicopters, the terms and conditions for the supply of these equipments are yet to be negotiated.
Airborne Warning and Control System
Bhamre also revealed that that there was "no delay" in AWACS (I) project, but the delay existed in indigenous AWE&C programme. The AWE&C programme was delayed due to following issues:
- Finalization of Operational Requirements
- Delay in delivery of certified aircraft
- Incompletion of flight evaluation of the integrated systems due to modification on aircraft by Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)
- Major maintenance
- System complexities
He was, however, positive that the first AWE&C platform was "likely" to be inducted in December 2016. But the indigenous AWACS (I) is expected to be available from 2024.
Scorpene Submarine Project
On the leakage of details regarding Indian Navy's Scorpene submarines, which is being built by Mazagon Dockyard Limited, Bhamre said that government was "aware of media reports" and had constituted a committee enquiring into the reported leak of documents. The government is currently examining the report submitted by the committee.
Bhamre revealed that though LCA Tejas is an indigenously designed and developed aircraft, several of its parts are of foreign origin.
"Indigenous content of the LCA Tejas Aircraft is 59.7 percent by value and 75.5 percent by numbers," Bhamre said.
"Out of total 344 LRUs (Line Replaceable Units) involved in the system level of LCA, a total of 210 LRUs have been produced indigenously and balance 134 LRUs are being imported from foreign companies," he added.
He, however, said that the manufacturer was working on reducing the dependence on foreign companies. HAL is making effort to indigenise 42 units. It is also trying to rope in private players in India who can make these parts.
Export of LCA Tejas
Parrikar revealed to the Parliament that the government "proposes to export LCA Tejas to other countries." He also said that government held preliminary discussions with "few friendly countries."
The current capacity of producing LCA Tejas at HAL facility is eight per year. The government has plans to ramp it up to 16 per year progressively by 2019-20.
The government has issued 14 licenses to 14 Indian private companies to manufacture ammunition. The companies that have the licences can now bid for orders.
Here is a list of companies that have been granted licenses:
- Indtech Construction Pvt. Ltd.
- Larsen & Tourbo Ltd., Mumbai
- Vem Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
- Sec Industries Pvt. Ltd.
- Lords Vanijya Pvt. Ltd.
- Micron Instruments Pvt. Ltd.
- Elbit Advanced Systems Pvt. Ltd.
- Solar Industries India Ltd.
- Kalyani strategic system Ltd.
- Himachal Futuristic Communications Ltd.
- Continental Defence solution Pvt. Ltd.
- Shan Arms Industries Pvt. Ltd.
- Pipavav Defence and offshore engineering company Ltd.
- Premier Explosives Ltd.