New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government today gave a big boost to indigenous military manufacturing within India when a defence ministry panel gave its approval to an Air Force proposal to buy 83 ‘Tejas‘ Light Combat Aircraft from the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for Rs. 50,025 crore ($7.5 billion).
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared a total of five procurement proposals from the Indian armed forces, all worth Rs. 82,117 crore ($12.3 billion)
These LCAs, in the Mk 1A configuration, would come along with simulators and allied equipment, and would form the planes of at least four combat squadrons of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
This decision of the Manohar Parrikar-led DAC was shared with the media by a Ministry of Defence official, who did not want to be named, citing rules.
The LCA purchase — DAC gave its approval for Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the planes — would be done under the 2016 Defence Procurement Procedure that provides for a new category of purchase called ‘Buy Indian (Indigenous Design, Development and Manufacturing)’ or the IDDM category.
The 83 new aircraft will be an addition to the 40 LCAs already on order with HAL. This news was first reported by this website on October 1 in an exclusive interview with Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha ahead of the Air Force Day 2016 on October 8.
Here are other decisions of the DAC:
* Approval was also given to AoN of 15 Light Combat Helicopters, also developed and manufactured by the HAL. This procurement cost would be worth Rs. 2,911 crore ($436 million). Of these 15 LCHs, 10 will go to the Army and five to the Air Force. This procurement too will be under the ‘Buy Indian (IDDM)’ category of DPP-2016.
* Nod was given to the AoN of 598 mini Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for the Indian Army as a cost of Rs. 1,100 crore ($165 million) under the ‘Buy Indian’ category of the DPP-2016.
* AoN worth Rs. 13,448 crore ($2 billion) for purchase of 464 Russian-origin T-90 tanks from the Indian Ordnance Factory Board (through Avadi-based Heavy Vehicles Factory that is licence-building these tanks) was also approved. These tanks are repeat orders to fill the gap in the Armoured Regiments of the Indian Army.
* Request for Proposals (tender in common parlance) for buying six additional regiments of the Pinaka missile at a cost of Rs. 14,633 crore ($2.2 billion) cleared.
* The new ‘blacklisting’ policy of the Indian government regarding defence companies that are found to be involved in wrongdoings was considered and approved. The details of the newly considered and approved “guidelines for suspension or banning of business dealings with entities’ would be posted on the Ministry of Defence website by the government in a few days.
* The most-expected proposal to buy 12 US-2i amphibious aircraft for the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard from Japanese firm ShinMaywa Industries was considered by the panel, but no decision in this regard was taken at the meeting, the official said.