- According to the officials, a new list of Make in India initiatives that the army is pursuing in collaboration with business includes surveillance and armed drone swarms.
- According to the ministry, "this is anticipated to provide a big push to India's small arms manufacturing industry and enhance aatmanirbharta (self-reliance)."
India has approved purchases totaling 28.732 crore that will be designed and developed domestically, including armed drone swarms, carbines, and bullet-proof jackets, the defence ministry announced on Tuesday. This decision will significantly increase India’s self-reliance in the defence manufacturing sector.
According to officials with knowledge of the situation who declined to be identified, the close-quarter carbines will be used by front-line soldiers stationed along India’s borders, including the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, where the two nations have been engaged in a tense standoff since May 2020.
At a meeting on Tuesday that was presided over by the defence minister Rajnath Singh, the defence acquisition council (DAC), the top body in India for purchasing weapons, gave the capital acquisition bids its acceptance of necessity (AoN). AoN by the council is the initial step in the military equipment purchase process in India.
In light of the fact that drone technology is proving to be a force multiplier in military operations and recent conflicts around the world, the acquisition of autonomous surveillance and armed drone swarms was approved to strengthen the army’s capability in modern warfare, the defence ministry said in a statement.
Last year, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) demonstrated indigenous capability to conduct offensive missions in enemy territory with dozens of drones operating in a variety of formations to identify, encircle, and strike targets. The loitering munitions were developed to meet a crucial military requirement and keep soldiers safe.
According to the officials, a new list of Make in India initiatives that the army is pursuing in collaboration with business includes surveillance and armed drone swarms. A swarm of drones may execute a variety of missions, including attacks on tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, ammo storage facilities, fuel depots, and terror launch pads, officials said.
In order to “fight the current complicated paradigm” of conventional warfare, hybrid warfare, and counterterrorism at the frontiers,” the DAC also approved the procurement of about 400,000 close-quarters carbines, according to the statement.
According to the ministry, “this is anticipated to provide a big push to India’s small arms manufacturing industry and enhance aatmanirbharta (self-reliance).”
“Several projects have been approved for the homegrown industry, and India is making deliberate, consistent, and concentrated progress toward aatmanirbharta in the defence sector. Carbines are desperately needed by frontline troops, according to former military operations director Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia (retd).
The soldiers stationed along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan will benefit from improved protection provided by the bulletproof jackets that are sought after.
The ministry stated that the DAC granted AoN for bullet-proof jackets with Indian Standard BIS VI level of protection “considering the demand of enhanced protection against the threat of enemy snipers to our troops deployed along the LoC, and in close combat operations in counter-terrorism scenario.”
According to the ministry, the DAC also approved plans for an infantry combat vehicle (command), area denial munition, and guided extended range rocket ammunition, all of which were created by the DRDO and cost $8,599 crore.
The area denial munition contains dual purpose submunitions capable of neutralising tanks and armoured personnel carriers, and the infantry combat vehicle (command) is equipped with technology to collect, disseminate, and present real-time information to commanders to facilitate quick decision making for task execution, it added. The extended range rocket ammunition has a range of 75 km and accuracy of 40 metres.
The council also authorised a military plan to purchase a marine gas turbine generator with a 1250KW capacity and 60% indigenous content for the Indian Coast Guard’s 14 rapid patrol boats and warships of the Kolkata class.
Over the past two to three years, India has implemented a variety of policies to increase domestic procurement and reduce imports in the defence manufacturing industry.
A gradual import ban has been enforced by the government on 310 distinct kinds of weapons and equipment. These include multi-barrel rocket launchers, assault rifles, sniper rifles, specific types of helicopters, next-generation corvettes, and airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) systems. They also include light tanks, naval utility helicopters, artillery guns, missiles, destroyers, ship-borne cruise missiles, light transport aircraft, light combat aircraft, light transport aircraft, long-range land-attack cruise missiles, basic trainer aircraft.
Additionally, the defence ministry allocated 64% of the 2021–22 capital acquisition budget for domestic industry. However, it was able to “overachieve this aim,” and, as previously reported by HT, domestic military acquisitions made up 65.5 percent of the capital budget.
In addition to allocating 25% of the defence research and development (R&D) budget to private industry, start-ups, and university, India has set aside 84,598 crore, or 68% of the military’s capital acquisition budget, for the purchase of domestically produced weapons and systems.