New Delhi: The 30-year wait of India‘s Army for a new artillery weapon will end soon for sure and it will finally exorcise the Bofors ghost of 1986.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Minister Manohar Parrikar, today gave its nod for the bulk production of indigenously developed ‘Dhanush‘ guns.
It also reviewed and sought speedy progress in the procurement of the British defence major BAE Systems‘ M777 ultralight howitzers through the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales route at the earliest.
The ‘Dhanush’ production nod was among 19 procurement proposals that were on the DAC’s agenda, of which the new proposals alone were worth Rs. 28,000 crore of $4.2 billion, a senior Ministry of Defence officials told your website, requesting not to be named, as DAC decisions were still private.
Here are the key decisions and discussions that took place at that DAC meeting:
* The DAC reviewed the progress in the procurement of 145 ultralight howitzers (M777, that is) from the U.S. through the foreign military sales route.
The panel directed that the offsets proposals (30 per cent of the deal’s worth) of BAE Systems for the M777 procurement to be independently progressed.
Delivery of the howitzers will now be done in India that will substantially reduce cost of transporting the guns from the U.S.
The first 25 M777s will be delivered ready-to-use. Some components of the guns will be manufactured in the U.S., but assembled in India.
* The DAC noted that there has been “satisfying” progress in the manufacturing of indigenous ‘Dhanush’ 155-mm 45-calibre guns (being manufactured by the Indian state-owned Ordnance Factory Board, or OFB).
The OFB will now provide three of the Dhanush guns by June 30 and three more guns by end of September 2016 to the Army for user exploitation.
The DAC also approved the bulk production of 18 ‘Dhanush’ to enable better exploitation and setting up of indigenous manufacturing facilities for the guns.
* The DAC reviewed the currently progressing case of Short Range Surface-to-Air Missile and Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) weapons.
It decided to keep the acquisition process for these two weapon systems as a multi-vendor one.
* The DAC considered the project for Armoured Fighting Vehicles protection and counter-measure systems and directed that it now be done under the ‘Indigenous Design, Develop and Make‘ category to strengthen future Indian capabilities to produce them through the domestic industry.
* The meeting also approved a Rs.386 crore project for modernisation and augmentation of facilities at the naval dockyard and naval ship repair yard indigenously.
* Approval was also given for Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) to buy six India-made next generation missile vessels for Rs. 13,600 crore ($2 billion).
* AoN nod also came for acquisition of five diving support craft through indigenous industry for Rs. 150 crore.
* Procurement of indigenous simulators for Jaguar fighter jet for Rs. 500 crore was also approved.
* An Electronic Warfare system for increasing the range of the equipment too was approved for procurement through the indigenous route, as the technology and production capability is available with the state-owned Bharat Electronics Limited. The system would cost Rs. 1,300 crore ($200 million).