The armed forces are currently executing the fourth tranche of Emergency Procurements (EP) and the Army has so far signed 49 contracts worth ₹7600 crore and another 34 contracts of a similar amount are lined up and expected to be concluded by end-September, according to defence sources.
“The 49 contracts cater for capabilities ranging from mobility solutions to communication systems, energy solutions, individual protective equipment, drones and counter drones, armament and simulators,” a defence source said.
Another 34 contracts are in the final stages of procurement the source said stating that niche technologies like logistic and nano drones, counter-drones, loiter munitions, Unarmed Aerial Vehicle (UAV) launched Precision Guided missiles, automatic spectrum monitoring systems etc are being procured. “The present global scenario necessitates a flexible and adaptive approach to tackle defence and national security challenges.”
Most of the contracts are being executed by the domestic private sector, the source said stating that the Army is leading efforts in indigenisation being pursued by the Defence Ministry under various schemes. Emergency financial powers were granted to the armed forces by the Defence Ministry, for the first time after the Uri terror attack, under which they could procure weapons systems upto ₹300 crores on an “urgent basis without any further clearances to cut short the procurement cycle.”
In the earlier three tranches, 68 contracts worth 6600 crore were executed. The stress is on “self-sufficiency through indigenisation”, the source said that a proactive outreach and collaborative campaign is being driven by Army Design Bureau (ADB), established in 2016, by connecting capabilities of defence industries with the user requirements.
“We have taken giant strides towards modernisation and technology infusion,” the source said. Of the five Innovation for Defence Excellence (iDEX) projects contracted in recent past, four projects worth approx ₹70 crore have been by the Army and out of the three Make II projects contracted, two projects worth approx ₹180 crore have been contracted by the Army, the source stated. Indian Army is observing 2023 as the year of transformation.
Procurement will explode
Last October, Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande had said that in the next 7-8 years, orders worth ₹8 lakh crore could be placed with Indian industry. Gen Pande had earlier stated that the EP also gives them an opportunity to test various systems in the field before going in for larger acquisition through the capital budget route.
Sources said that ADB has been connecting capabilities of the industry, academia, Defence Public Sector undertakings (DPSU) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in addition to interacting with various Central and State Industrial bodies for collaboration and to increase its engagement with Industry, Micro Small Medium Entrepreneur (MSME) and startups. “The resolve is to create solutions, which are fully indigenous and establish a decisive edge over the adversary,” the source added.