INDIA. Mumbai: The Ministry of Defence on Wednesday approved the procurement of military platforms and hardware worth Rs 13,165 crore, which includes the procurement of 25 indigenously-developed advanced light helicopters (ALH) Mark-III helicopters for the Indian Army to boost its combat capabilities.
The cost of acquiring the ALH from the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has been estimated at Rs 3,850 crore, while a batch of rocket ammunition will cost Rs 4,962 crore, the defence ministry said in a statement. The indigenously designed and developed ALH Mark-III is a twin-engine, multi-role, multi-mission new generation helicopter in the 5.5-ton weight category.
The approval for procurement of the helicopters for the Army came after the ministry firmed up a big-ticket deal to acquire 118 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs)- Arjun worth Rs 7,523 crore and a deal to procure 56 C-295 transport aircraft to replace the ageing Avro-748 planes of the IAF, from the Airbus Defence and Space S.A. Spain.
Under the agreement with Airbus, the Spain-based aviation major, will deliver the first 16 aircraft in ”fly-away condition from its final assembly line in Seville, Spain, within four years. The subsequent 40 aircraft will be manufactured and assembled by Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) in India under a partnership between the two companies and all the deliveries will be made by 2031.
The procurement proposals were approved 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 DAC accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for capital acquisitions proposals for modernization and operational needs of the Indian Armed Forces. “Of the total amount approved, for the equipment and platforms, the procurement worth Rs 11,486 crore (87 percent) is from the domestic sources,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Looking into the need of the Indian Army for an ALH Squadron, to improve its integral lift capability ensuring its operational preparedness, the DAC accorded approval of procurement of 25 ALH Mark III helicopters from the HAL. The Indian Army has been pressing for procurement of the ALH to strengthen its lift capabilities”, the Defence Ministry said.
The proposals approved by the DAC also includes the procurement of guided munition. “Giving a boost to indigenous design and development of ammunition, the DAC also accorded approval for procurement of Terminally Guided Munition (TGM) and HEPF/RHE Rocket ammunition under Buy (Indian-IDDM) category at an approximate cost of Rs 4,962 crore from domestic sources,” the ministry said.
Other proposals worth Rs 4,353 crore were also approved by the DAC. In addition, the DAC approved a few amendments to the DAP (Defence Acquisition Procedure) 2020 as part of “business process re-engineering to ensure further ease of doing business for the industry as well as measures to enhance procurement efficiency and reducing timelines”, the ministry said.
A war memorial-cum-museum in Mumbai
In another development, Maharashtra Government on Wednesday decided to set up a war memorial-cum-museum in tribute to armed forces, by the next Independence, in Mumbai.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray asked officials to finalize the site in Mumbai for a war memorial-cum-museum in honour of the armed forces, a project that has been planned to commemorate 75 years of India’s independence. The CM said the work on the project should be expedited so that some portion of the monument can be opened for members of the public by August 15, 2022.
A statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said the proposed memorial-cum-museum will highlight the glorious history, bravery, and courage of the Indian armed forces. The medals won by them, Thackeray said.
Also Read: India Clears Rs.43,000 Crore Project To Build Six High-Tech Submarines
A committee of consultants and designers will be formed with the participation of defence personnel to decide on the nature of the museum. The project should include information about how soldiers guard the country against all odds. The museum should also highlight the glory and military might of the armed forces.
Thackeray said the bravery of soldiers and officers from Maharashtra along with the military skills of 17th-century Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj should also be highlighted.
The meeting to discuss modalities of the proposed memorial at CM’s official residence “Varsha” in South Mumbai was attended by Lt Gen S K Parashar, Brigadier Dr.Achlesh Shankar, Additional Chief Secretary Ashishkumar Singh, Principal Secretary Vikas Kharge, Principal Secretary Urban Development Bhushan Gagrani, and Mumbai Municipal Commissioner I S Chahal.