Everything is moving fast on the defence front, particularly the enhancing of domestic manufacturing capacity. You have already read how the recent embargo on 101 import items will help the indigenous defence manufacturers. Soon after this step the Ministry of Defence announced some acquisition plans which again boost the domestic defence eco-system. Now the ball is in the court of industries to rise to the occasion, pick up these initial opportunities, deliver within the timelines, and prove that they are ready for next-level big challenges.
Basic Trainer Aircrafts from HAL
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has developed Basic Trainer Aircraft (HTT-40) Prototypes. Presently, the certification process underway. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved the procurement of 106 Basic Trainer Aircraft from HAL to address the basic training requirements of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Post Certification 70 Basic Trainer Aircraft will be initially procured from HAL and balance 36 after operationalisation of the HTT-40 fleet in IAF.
The Indian Express reported that “Initially, the HTT-40 project had faced issues of acceptance from within the IAF. However, on Sunday, the Defence Ministry put the basic trainer aircraft under its new negative imports list, with indicative imports embargo of December 2023.”
Now, it is with the HAL to ensure that it delivers the best quality and thereby proving that it is ready for the next level challenges.
Guns from Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited
BHEL is given an opportunity to provide an upgraded version of Super Rapid Gun Mount (SRGM) which is fitted as the main gun on board Navy and Indian Coast Guard warships. The upgraded version of SRGM has enhanced capability to perform against fast manoeuvring targets like missiles and Fast Attack Crafts and increase the maximum engagement range.
Indigenous Emphasis for Ammunition
APFSDS (Armour Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot) are useful in attacking modern vehicle armour such as battle tanks. Now, DAC has approved procurement of 125 mm APFSDS ammunition that will have 70 percent indigenous content.
Expediting the Existing Process
Efforts are also made to clear the roadblocks in the existing domestic manufacturing plans. AK-203 rifles slated to be produced by the Ordnance Factory Board in Amethi, which is a joint venture with the Russian company. The project has been stuck over the issues over pricing with Russia, which has gained the pace now through negotiations. It is reported that DAC had given “approvals that are likely to speed up the procurement of AK-203 and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle upgrades”.
Positive news for the Amethi rifle factory – ministry says approvals given by the top defence acquisition council will speed up the AK 203 procurement.
As reported by ET, deal likely to be inked around a Putin-Modi summit in October.
— Manu Pubby (@manupubby) August 11, 2020
Often, we see the arguments from certain sections and the political opposition over why certain projects are not given to government-owned companies. The recent specific steps towards indigenous production come with a number of opportunities for both public and private units working in the defence manufacturing sphere. Now, it is their responsibility to meet the expectations of the nation.