The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), which met on August 24 under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for capital acquisition proposals worth approximately ₹7,800 crore. These include procurement and installation of Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite on Mi-17 V5 Helicopters, ground-based autonomous system for mechanised infantry and armoured regiments, Light Machine Guns (LMG) and Bridge Laying Tanks (BLT).
“To enhance the efficiency of the Indian Air Force, the DAC has granted AoN for procurement and installation of Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite on Mi-17 V5 Helicopters under Buy (Indian-IDDM) category which will enhance better survivability of Helicopters,” a Defence Ministry statement said. The EW Suite will be procured from Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).
The ground-based autonomous systems for mechanised infantry and armoured regiments will enable various operations like unmanned surveillance, logistic delivery of ammunition, fuel and spares and casualty evacuation on the battlefield, it stated. The Ministry said that while induction of LMG will enhance the fighting capabilities of infantry forces, the induction of BLT will result in faster movement of Mechanised Forces.
The AoN for procurement of ruggedised laptops and tablets for the Army under Project Shakti has also been approved. All these procurements will be sourced from Indigenous vendors only.
In addition, to enhance the operational capability of the MH-60R Helicopters of the Navy, the DAC has accorded AoN for procurement of weapons for these helicopters. The Navy is currently inducting the MH-60R helicopters, 24 of which were contracted from Lockheed Martin of the US under a $2.2 bn deal signed during the visit of then U.S. President Donald Trump to India in February 2020.