Defence Ministry Approves Military Acquisitions Worth Rs 15,935 Crore

| February 14 , 2018 , 08:08 IST

Days after the terrorist attack on the Sunjuwan Army Camp in Jammu on Saturday, the defence ministry on Tuesday gave initial approvals to several acquisition proposals worth a total of Rs 15,935 crore in a boost for the armed forces. The acquisitions include 7.4 lakh new assault rifles and 16,500 light machine guns.

Chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) accorded the Acceptance of Necessity (AON) to the proposals, after which now formal tenders will be floated to invite technical and commercial bids from armament companies. However, the entire process may take a few year years before the contracts are finalised and the production begins.

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In order to speed up the process, the DAC has approved the "fast track procedure (FTP)" for the acquisition of 16,500 light machine guns (LMGs) from the global market at an overall cost of Rs 1,819 so that the process may be completed within a year.

Although the Army, Navy and Air Force require a total of 43,732 new LMGs, the initial acquisition of 16,500 LMGs would go towards the operational requirements of troops deployed on the Pakistan and China borders.

"A concurrent proposal is being processed for the remaining LMGs under the Buy and Make (Indian) categorisation through a tie-up between an Indian vendor and a foreign armament company," said an official.

The 7.4 lakh assault rifles approved on Tuesday would also be procured under the "Make in India" production policy for the three services.

"These rifles will be made under the Buy and Make (Indian) categorisation, through both the Ordnance Factory Board and the private industry at an estimated cost of Rs 12,280 crore," said the official.

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Apart from the LMGs and rifles, the DAC on Tuesday also approved the procurement of 5,719 sniper rifles for the Army and IAF at an estimated cost of Rs 982 crore.

"While these high-precision weapons will be bought under the 'Buy Global' categorisation, the ammunition for these will be initially procured and subsequently manufactured in India," said the official.

Meanwhile, the procurement of the indigenous "Mareech" advanced torpedo decoy systems (ATDS) which was developed by DRDO and has already successfully completed extensive trials was also approved by the DAC. .

"The 'Mareech' systems will be produced by Bharat Electronics Limited, Bengaluru at an estimated cost of Rs 850 crore," he added.