In a major push for atmanirbharta in defense, the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, approved the procurement of multiple Made-in-India weapons systems and platforms worth over Rs 70,000 crore.
The DAC has given the green light to the Indian Army's proposal to buy 307 Advanced Towed Artillery Gun Systems (ATAGS).
The ATAGS has been developed by the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in collaboration with the Kalyani Group and Tata Advanced Systems Limited.
The gun is capable of being deployed in high-altitude regions along India's frontier with Tibet, where the Army is locked in a tense standoff with China's People's Liberation Army (PLA).
The indigenous gun boasts unparalleled range capabilities, with its Extended Range Sub-Bore Boat Tail (ERFB BT) ammunition capable of striking targets at 35 km, and ERFB BB (Base Bleed) ammunition reaching a range of approximately 45 km. Notably, in 2017, the ATAGS was successfully fired at an impressive range of 47 km.
Given the ongoing Ladakh border crisis with China, the ATAGS' high altitude performance is a crucial factor in its design. To this end, the Indian Army conducted a series of tests, including sustained firing drills using only the backup battery at heights over 13,000 feet and checking the gun's performance at extremely low temperatures.
Additionally, the DAC has also granted the initial nod, or the Acceptance of Necessity, for the purchase of 200 extended-range BrahMos cruise missiles at a cost of over Rs 20,000 crore. It is likely to be the biggest-ever deal for the cruise missile designed and built under an Indian-Russian joint venture.
The deal will include deliveries over a long period, and the missiles will be used by four Project-15B destroyers and seven Project-17A frigates.
Ten frontline warships of the Indian Navy are already armed with the BrahMos missiles, which were jointly developed by Russia and India and fly almost three times the speed of sound at Mach 2.8.
In September last year, the Defense Ministry signed a ₹1,700 crore deal to procure 38 BrahMos missiles for the Indian Navy.
In the last 20 years, BrahMos has evolved, as its makers say, into a "brahmastra," becoming a critical component of India's offensive firepower. It has given the Army, Air Force, and Navy a precision strike option and the ability to hit enemy targets from stand-off ranges.
For the Indian Navy, the DAC has given a go-ahead for the purchase of 60 Light Utility Helicopters.
The Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) is designed and developed as a replacement for Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, which are being operated by the Indian Armed forces.
The helicopter, unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who in February, is a three-ton machine powered by a single turboshaft engine with sufficient power margin to cater to demanding high-altitude missions.
The helicopter is designed to be capable of flying at 220 km/h with a service ceiling of 6.5 km and a range of 350 km with a 500 kg payload.
Another proposal approved by the DAC is for the procurement of nine Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv for the Coast Guard.
The HAL-designed ALH Dhruv is a twin-engine, multi-role, multi-mission, new-generation helicopter in the 5.5-ton weight class.
The helicopter is able to carry out maritime reconnaissance and search and rescue operations at extended ranges even while operating from ships, both during the day and at night.
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