Defence Acquisition Council gives nod to purchase indigenous defence systems

Acceptance of Necessity given for three capital acquisition proposals amounting to ₹4,276 crore; these include helicopter-launched Nag missiles and BrahMos cruise missile launchers for ships

Updated - January 11, 2023 02:24 am IST

Published - January 10, 2023 08:57 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

A visitor looks at a Helina misslie model during a Defence Research and Development Organisation exhibition in Chennai.

A visitor looks at a Helina misslie model during a Defence Research and Development Organisation exhibition in Chennai. | Photo Credit: AFP

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for three capital acquisition proposals amounting to ₹4,276 crore. These include Helicopter launched Nag (HELINA) Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM), Very Short Range Air Defence Systems (VSHORAD) and BrahMos cruise missile launcher and Fire Control System (FCS) for naval ships. All three are indigenous design and development projects.

“The DAC accorded AoN for procurement of HELINA ATGMs, launchers and associated support equipment which will be integrated to the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH). This missile is an essential part of weaponisation of ALH for countering enemy threat,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

The HELINA and Dhruvastra being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are third generation, Lock on Before Launch fire and forget ATGMs meant for the indigenous ALH and the Light Combat Helicopter. Helina is the Army variant and Dhruvastra is the Air Force variant.

The DAC also accorded AoN for procurement of VSHORAD (IR Homing) missile system under design and development by the DRDO. “In view of the recent developments along the Northern borders there is a need to focus on effective air defence weapon systems which are man portable and can be deployed quickly in rugged terrain and maritime domain,” the Ministry said adding procurement of VSHORAD, as a robust and quickly deployable system, will strengthen the capabilities.

The Army has a major requirement for VSHORAD and several attempts to import the systems have not materialised. A major deal with Russia, which was shortlisted in a bidding, has been stuck for several years and is on the verge of cancellation.

In the interim, in the backdrop of the standoff in eastern Ladakh, the Army made an emergency procurement of Igla-S systems from Russia. The contract was signed in December 2020 and the equipment was delivered by December 2021. This includes 24 launchers, 216 missiles and testing equipment, as reported by The Hindu earlier.

Further, the DAC also granted approval for procurement of BrahMos launcher and FCS for the Shivalik class of ships and Next Generation Missile Vessels for the Navy. With their induction, these ships would have enhanced capability of carrying out maritime strike operations, interdicting and destroying enemy’s warships and merchant vessels, the statement added.

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