New Delhi: India will soon buy one more C-130J Super Hercules special operations aircraft from American manufacturer Lockheed Martin for Rs. 900 crore ($135 million).
This will be the replacement for the aircraft that had crashed during a training sortie near Gwalior in March 2014, killing five Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) met with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in the chair and gave its approval for the IAF proposal to buy the replacement aircraft, a Ministry of Defence official said, asking not be identified citing service rules.
India had first bought six C-130Js in 2007 for $962 million that were delivered beginning 2010 at Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad near here.
The crashed aircraft was from this fleet of six C-130Js. India again inked a follow-on deal for another six of these planes in late 2013, to be based at Panagarh in West Bengal to support India’s ramp up of offensive capabilities focusing on China.
The DAC also gave its nod for procuring 58 night vision goggles for IAF pilots to enable them to perform night operations, the official said, without giving other details such as the company from which these would be bought or the value of the deal.
The DAC, which also has the three services chiefs apart from the department secretaries in the defence ministry as members, also took stock of the progress in the procurement of military equipment approved by it since April 2016.
Among the capital acquisition, it emerged that proposals worth Rs. 16,000 crore ($2.4 billion) were given a green signal, including six at the level of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The defence ministry had cleared additional four major acquisitions worth Rs. 15,000 crore ($2.25 billion) and forwarded the proposal for the consideration of the CCS, the official said.
There are currently major acquisitions worth over Rs. 31,000 crore ($4.65 billion) that are either contracted or at an advanced stage of negotiation for signing a contract.
The DAC urged the armed forces headquarters to expedite the process of acqusition in these cases.
As against 329 Acceptance of Necessity (AON) projects worth over Rs. 500,000 crore ($75 billion) in the pipeline in April 2014, there are currently 235 AON-issued projects in pipeline, the official added.