National

More clarity on defence acquisitions soon

The Air Force’s long-range air defence systems, the Army’s artillery modernisation programme and the Navy’s plans to procure new missile boats and special operations vehicles will get policy clarity when the Defence Acquisition Council, headed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, meets on Saturday.

The deal for five S-400 Triumf long-range surface-to-air missile systems from Russia, potentially worth about Rs. 40,000 crore, is up for clearance. Last December, the council gave formal approval for the deal. Three major artillery programmes of the Army at an advanced stage of procurement will be taken up for specific approvals and clarity. These include M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzer from BAE systems, upgrading of 130-mm guns to 155-mm ones and the indigenously upgraded Bofors gun, Dhanush. The Army has failed to induct any new piece of artillery since the 1980s after the infamous Bofors scandal. Procurement of air defence systems for which trials have been conducted is expected to be discussed.

Firepower

For the Navy, six next-generation missile vessels meant to replace the current Prabal class of missile boats acquired in the late 1980s from the Soviet Union is a high priority. At 1,250 tonnes, the vessels will pack a lot of firepower on them, including the Brahmos cruise missiles estimated at Rs. 13,000 crore. Once the DAC accords its approval, the Acceptance of Necessity detailing the specifications will be issued to all domestic manufacturers, a senior officer said.

The Navy’s other issues on the table are six Brahmos systems for the Delhi class and Talwar class ships along with associated equipment for Rs. 2,700 crore. Two projects approved earlier, two special operations vessels and associated swimming delivery vehicles for Rs. 2,000 crore and five fleet support ships are before the committee for approval due to deviations in the procedure.

However, guidelines on selecting strategic partners intended to develop the domestic manufacturing under the new Defence Procurement Procedure, 2016, remains unfinished with the industry objecting to the government’s proposed guidelines on the issue.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 6:00:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/More-clarity-on-defence-acquisitions-soon/article14397686.ece

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