Govt approves purchase of fighter jets, missile systems, weapons worth Rs 38,900 crore from Russia

Last Updated : 03 July 2020, 02:19 IST

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The Defence Ministry on Thursday approved purchase of around Rs 38,900 crore worth of weapons including new fighter aircraft, long-range cruise missiles with 1,000 km range and Astra beyond visual range missiles, packing more punch into the defence capabilities of the armed forces.

The package includes buying an additional 21 MiG-29 fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force and upgrading 59 similar aircraft being used by the IAF at a cost of Rs 7,418 crore.

In addition, 12 more Su-30 MKI will be procured from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bengaluru at an estimated cost of Rs 10,730 crore.

The Rs 38,900 crore package was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council headed by the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday amidst the ongoing tense face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh.

The deals approved by the DAC includes purchases worth Rs 31,130 crore from the domestic industry. Bulk of the remaining Rs 7,770 crore would be spent on the MiG-29 deal, leaving about Rs 352 crore for other foreign equipment.

The 21 Russian origin MiG-29 combat jets were manufactured in the 1980s but were never used and were lying in a Russian hanger. With India experiencing a dip in its fighter squadron strength, a couple of years ago, Moscow had offered to sell those old aircraft after upgrading them to the current standard. An IAF team approved the sale after a thorough inspection.

Among other things, the DAC approved final development of an indigenous Long Range Land Attack Missile (LRLAM) system with a firing range of 1,000 km. This will add to the existing arsenal of all the three services and bolster their attack capabilities.

“It is an advanced version of the Nirbhay cruise missile,” an official of the Defence Research and Development Organisation said. Once ready it would be the world’s longest range non-Nuke cruise missile.

Several critical technologies in the project such as aerodynamic configuration, vertical launch using solid booster, thrust vector control system, booster separation, in-flight wing deployment, in-flight engine start and long range way-point navigation system have been developed, demonstrated and matured. Seeker development and testing by DRDO laboratories too have been demonstrated and is at a high level of readiness.

“It is now important to take up the proposed development of the fully indigenous long range land attack cruise missile that greatly enhances the operational capability of services,” said an official.

The indigenous content in some of these projects is up to 80 per cent of the project cost. A large number of them were realised due to the transfer of technology by DRDO to the indigenous industry. These include Pinaka ammunition, BMP armament upgrades and software defined radios for the Indian Army, and Astra beyond visual range missiles for the Indian Navy and IAF. The cost of these design and development proposals is in the range of Rs 20,400 crore.

The Astra mark-1 weapons system integrated with Su-30 Mk-I aircraft is being inducted into the IAF. It can be launched in autonomous and buddy mode of operation with features for Lock-On-Before Launch (LOBL) and Lock-On After Launch (LOAL).

“Air to air missile Astra, Software Defined Radio, Pinaka munitions and Land Attack Cruise Missile are state of the art systems developed by DRDO. Armed forces and industry will be immensely benefited with the manufacturing of these indegenous systems,” said G Satheesh Reddy, chairman DRDO.

Published 02 July 2020, 12:24 IST

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