The Defence Ministry has put on hold the long term acquisition plan of the Indian Navy worth almost Rs one lakh crore.
The bosses in the Ministry felt that the plan if accepted in present form may eat away half of the capital budget allocated to navy for its modernisation.
The acquisition plan for next half decade included major platforms, fighter jets for its aircraft carriers and underwater vessels.
Most of the Navy’s projects are based on indigenous capability building initiatives with top officials plan pitch them with the new defence minister wrapped in package.
Sources in the South Block said the plan put forward by the navy was found to way mark of the realistic needs, hence need to be revisited.
The Defence Ministry’s move to block the acquisition plan of the navy has come as a double setback in the backdrop of decline of the percentage of share of Navy to total Defence budget over the years.
From a level of 18.12 percent in the beginning of Twelfth Plan Period of 2012-13 it gradually came down to 13.39 per cent in the current year.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had approved a strength of 198 ships and submarines by 2027, which looks a pipe dream as the presently held force level by Indian Navy is 123 ships, 15 submarines and 235 aircraft.
With regard to ships and submarines, a parliamentary Committee have found that there were some major Projects in progress aimed at alleviating the capabilities gaps. These procurement and acquisitions programme include 46 Ships and Submarines under construction in India.
The Navy has felt a need to give impetus to replace ageing platforms, Induction of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, P 15B and P 17A Ships.
Presently Navy is working with 15 submarines as against planned force level of 18 conventional submarines. Moreover, these submarines are 16 to 30 years old. In order to acquire the desired level, currently, six P-75 submarines are under construction at Mumbai Dockyards Limited, Mumbai.
In addition to this, Medium Refit Life Certification (MRLC) of submarines is undertaken and case for six P-75 submarines is being progressed as per directives of Ministry of Defence, under strategic partnership model.
The Navy is also faced with a deficiency aircraft to the extent of 61 integral helicopters on existing ships.
In order to make up the deficiency, mid life upgrade of 28 Kamov helicopters is being undertaken. Also, case for multi role helicopters is being progressed.
In addition to these, case for P81 Boeing aircraft is in an advanced stage of acquisition, and cases for 12 Dornier aircraft and Nine Medium Range Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft are also in progress.