As tension escalates with China along the Line of Actual Control (LoAC) in Ladakh, the Ministry of Defence on 2 July gave a go-ahead to procurement of 33 frontline fighter jets, several missile systems and other military hardware at a cost of Rs 38,900 crore to bolster the combat capability of the armed forces.
Officials said India would soon have 21 MiG-29 fighter jets from Russia while PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) will give the Indian Air Force 12 more Su-30 MKI aircraft. The ministry has approved a separate proposal to upgrade existing 59 MiG-29 aircraft too.
Cost of procurement and acquisition
The procurement of 21 MiG-29 and upgrade of the existing fleet of MiG-29 will cost Rs 7,418 crore while 12 new Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft from HAL will come for Rs 10,730 crore, said the sources.
The ministry made the decisions on the procurement of the fighter jets, missile systems and other military equipment at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC). Chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the DAC is the highest decision-making body of the defence ministry on procurement.
The ministry said the DAC had approved capital procurement worth around Rs 38,900 crore. “Focused on indigenous design and development, these approvals include (those for) acquisitions from Indian industry worth Rs 31,130 crore. The equipment are to be manufactured in India involving the Indian defence industry with the participation of several MSMEs as prime-tier vendors,” it said.
In a press release, the ministry referred to the “current situation and the need to strengthen the armed forces for the defence of our borders” while talking about the decisions of the DAC.
The armies of India and China are locked in a bitter, sometimes violent, standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for nearly two months. The tension escalated after China ambushed 16 Bihar Regiment of the Indian Army that led to the death of 20 Indian jawans and a greater number of Chinese soldiers in a skirmish in the Galwan Valley in the intervening night of 15 and 16 June.
“The indigenous content in some of these projects is up to 80% of the project cost. A large number of these projects have been made possible due to Transfer of Technology by DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) to the indigenous industry,” the ministry said. It said the cost of these design and development proposals is in the range of Rs 20,400 crore.
Procurement of ASTRA
The ministry has approved procurement of 248 ASTRA beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-to-air missile systems and several long-range, land-attack cruise missile systems as well, said the sources.
The ASTRA missile can engage and destroy highly manoeuvring supersonic aircraft and has an all-weather day-and-night capability.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed the ASTRA missile system.
Acquisition of Pinaka
The DAC approved the proposed acquisition of Pinaka missile systems as well as long-range, land-attack missile systems with a firing range of 1,000 km.
The proposals the DAC approved on 2 July included procurement of Pinaka ammunition, software-defined radios for the army and BMP armament upgrades.
“While the acquisition of Pinaka missile systems will enable raising additional regiments over and above the ones already inducted, the addition of long-range, land-attack missile systems having a firing range of 1,000 km to the existing arsenal will bolster the attack capabilities of the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force,” the ministry said.
Pinaka is an all-weather and free-flight artillery rocket system. It provides a unique capability to accurately deliver a devastatingly lethal and responsive fire against a variety of area targets such as air terminal complexes and fuel and ammunition dumps, said an official. “Similarly induction of ASTRA missiles having beyond visual range capability will serve as a force multiplier and immensely add to the strike capability of the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force,” he said.
Besides, India will receive six fully loaded Rafale fighter aircraft with the long-range Meteor air-to-air missiles on 27 July.