In a strategic move to fortify its military prowess, India is poised to greenlight four big-ticket projects, marking a significant leap in the armed forces' strike capabilities, as reported by the Times of India.
These initiatives, collectively valued at approximately Rs 1.4 lakh crore, underscore India's commitment to modernising its defence infrastructure and meeting the challenges posed by evolving regional security dynamics.
As the Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC), led by Rajnath Singh, gears up for a crucial meeting on 30 November, the anticipation surrounds the "acceptance of necessity" (AoN) for four projects, including additional Tejas fighter jets, a second indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-2), 26 Rafale-Ms, and the procurement of Prachand light combat helicopters.
97 Tejas Mk-1A Fighter Jets
India is set to give preliminary approval for the procurement of 97 Tejas Mk-1A fighter jets, enhancing the country's air defence capabilities.
This project, estimated to cost around Rs 55,000 crore, aims to supplement the existing fleet of 83 Tejas jets.
The total order of 180 Tejas jets is crucial for the Indian Air Force (IAF) to bolster its fighter squadrons. This need is accentuated by operational challenges stemming from the recent decommissioning of a Mig-21 squadron, which has reduced the squadron strength to 30-31 squadrons.
This falls well below the envisaged 42 squadrons and is insufficient to effectively counter the joint threat posed by China and Pakistan.
The first batch of 83 Mark-1A jets is scheduled for delivery between February 2024 and February 2028.
Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-2) based on INS Vikrant
India plans to build a second indigenous aircraft carrier, IAC-2, following the success of INS Vikrant (IAC-1).
The proposed carrier, expected to cost around Rs 40,000 crore, will be a "repeat order" of the 44,000-tonne INS Vikrant.
The construction, likely to take 8-10 years at Cochin Shipyard, is critical for enhancing the Indian Navy's capabilities.
INS Vikrant, commissioned in September 2022, is set to be fully combat-ready by mid-2024.
156 Prachand Helicopters
The approval includes the acquisition of 156 Prachand light combat helicopters, aimed at bolstering India's offensive capabilities in high-altitude areas like Siachen Glacier and eastern Ladakh.
The project, valued at around Rs 45,000 crore, will supplement the 15 Prachand helicopters already inducted under the initial contract.
These helicopters, equipped with 20mm turret guns, 70mm rocket systems, air-to-air missiles, and Helicopter-launched Nag (HELINA) anti-tank guided missiles, play a crucial role in mountain warfare.
26 Rafale-M Fighter Jets, Replacing the Mig-29K
India is finalising the acquisition of 26 Rafale-M Marine fighter jets from France, replacing the aging fleet of Mig-29K fighter jets.
The estimated cost for this acquisition is Rs 50,000 crore. This move aims to modernise and enhance the capabilities of the Indian Navy's air wing.
The Rafale-M, known for its advanced features, will contribute to India's naval aviation strength, dramatically.
Editorial Associate at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.
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