Tuesday 17 September 2019, 04:36 AM
Modi govt. will need to speed up military projects
By Sushil Sharma | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 5/24/2019 4:47:12 PM
Modi govt. will need to speed up military projects

As a new Narendra Modi government has taken over, the task of the new defence minister in the government is well cut out to speed up decision on some very critical defence purchases. The decisions, especially on induction of critical military equipment, will define the level of military readiness for India in the coming years.

Acquisition of some very important big ticket projects are pending for want of decisions. These include six new submarines, 400 fighter jets including indigenously built Tejas aircraft for the Indian Air Force, 57 jets for the Navy, 800 helicopters for the Army, Navy and IAF, new warships and  unmanned aerial platforms. It is hoped that the new government will start looking at these projects on priority basis. 

The manufacturing process for getting new AK 203 rifles has started; it needs to be speeded up. Similarly artillery guns have started coming in; the numbers need to be ramped.The projected schemes lauched by Narendra Modi government to “Make in India” initiative will need a push. 

Indian military establishment sits on a cusp of chang and these changes include modernisation and manpower restructuring of the Indian Army in particular. About 16 per cent, the highest by any ministry, of the country’s Budget is spent by the MoD.

The ‘strategic partnership’ model announced a few months ago will form the core of “Make in India” initiative. On this, hinges the production of new submarines, helicopters and fighter jets. Two projects have been initiated under the SP Model.

One of the projects is submarines. The selection process to make the next generation ones is pending and the submarine action plan announced in 1999 is running years behind schedule, not a single submarine has been inducted under the plan. The three forces collectively need some 800 helicopters. The request for information, the first step to acquire equipment, has been sent out for 234 helicopters for the Navy. The production of 197 Kamov 226-T copters, to be realized under the Indo-Russian joint venture for the IAF and the Army, is yet to commence.

Some 400 fighter jets are needed to be produced over the next 10 years for the IAF. The MoD has cleared foreign participation for over 100 single-engine jets and has pumped in crores of Rupees to ramp up production for the 120 indigenous single-engine fighter jet, the Tejas.

The Army’s Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan, drawn up in 1999 for acquiring 2,800 guns by 2027, but is years behind schedule. So far, delivery of 145 ultra-light howitzers has begun and a contract has been signed for 100 tracked self-propelled guns. The remaining in the pipeline are 1,580 towed guns, 814 truck-mounted guns, 180 wheeled self-propelled guns. In the past six months, two new type of guns, the ATAGS and the Dhanush have been inducted. 

The MoD is a slow-moving ministry, which the next Defence Minister will have to keep pushing so as to ramp up production of locally made equipment and speed up purchases from abroad.

 

Tags:

Narendra,Modi,government,AK 203 rifles,400 fighter jets,submarines

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