India inks defence deals worth Rs 39,125 cr for procurement of missiles, aero-engines, radars

NEW DELHI, Mar 1 : India on Friday sealed five major defence acquisition contracts worth Rs 39,125 crore including procurement of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, radars, weapon systems and aero-engines for MiG-29 jets as part of efforts to boost the combat capabilities of the armed forces.

The mega procurement projects were firmed up amid India’s lingering border row with China in eastern Ladakh, and they will be implemented under the broad framework of the government’s policy to boost domestic defence manufacturing.

The contracts for the procurement of the platforms and weapons systems were signed in presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane, under whose guidance these deals fructified, an official readout said.

“These deals will further strengthen indigenous capabilities, save foreign exchange and reduce dependency on foreign origin equipment manufactures in future,” it said.

Two separate deals were firmed up for procurement of Brahmos missiles.

The first one is for procurement of BrahMos missiles from the BrahMos Aerospace Private Ltd (BAPL) at a cost of Rs 19,518.65 crore.

“These missiles would be utilized to meet combat outfit and training requirements of the Indian Navy,” the defence ministry said. The second contract is for procurement of the ship-borne BrahMos system from the BAPL at a cost of Rs 988 crore.

These missiles would be the Indian Navy’s primary weapon for maritime strike operations and the weapons would be fitted onboard various frontline warships.

The system is capable of hitting land or sea targets from extended ranges with pinpoint accuracy at supersonic speeds, the ministry said.

The deal for procurement of RD-33 Aero Engines for MiG-29 aircraft was signed with state-run aerospace giant Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the cost of the project would be Rs 5,249.72 crore.

The ministry said the aero engines will be produced by the Koraput Division of the HAL.

“These aero engines are expected to fulfill the need of Indian Air Force (IAF) to sustain the operational capability of the MiG-29 fleet for the residual service life,” it said.

“The aero-engines will be manufactured under transfer of technology license from the Russian original equipment maker. The programme will focus on indigenisation of several high value critical components, which would help increase the indigenous content of future repair and overhaul tasks of RD-33 aero-engines,” it said.

The ministry also inked a deal with Larsen and Toubro Ltd for procurement of a batch of close-in weapon system (CIWS) “The contract for procurement of CIWS has been signed with Larsen & Toubro Limited at a cost of Rs 7,668.82 crore,” the ministry said.

“The CIWS will provide terminal air defence to select locations of the country. The project will boost and encourage active participation of Indian aerospace, defence and associated industries including MSMEs,” it said.

The contract for procurement of high-power radar system has also been signed with Larsen and Toubro Limited at a cost of Rs 5,700 crore.

It will replace existing long-range radars of lAF with modern active aperture phased array based HPR with advanced surveillance features.

“It will significantly enhance the terrestrial air defence capabilities of IAF with integration of sophisticated sensors capable of detection of small radar cross section targets,” the ministry said.

“It will boost to indigenous radar manufacturing technology as it would be first of its kind radar built by the private sector in India,” the ministry said.

Larsen & Toubro said the CIWS is planned for deployment at various locations across India to protect vital assets from all types of low flying, low signature aerial threats including unmanned aerial vehicles.

It said CIWS comprises air defence guns, tracking radars and a search radar linked to a command and control shelter along with associated simulators and communication equipment.

“Winning these complex high-tech projects competitively after extensive trial evaluation is a testimony to our capabilities in design, development, precision engineering and manufacturing of advanced platforms and systems for the Indian armed forces,” said Arun Ramchandani, executive vice president and head of defence business at L&T.

“Our efforts are constantly focused at enhancing the self-reliance of the Indian Armed Forces,” he said.

The signing of the two contracts for procurement of the Brahmos missiles came days after the acquisition was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

The CCS accorded approval for procurement of over 200 BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles and associated equipment.

It is learnt that it will be a mix of BrahMos missiles having a range of around 290 km and the latest extended range variant of the weapon with a range of around 450 km.

BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd, an India-Russian joint venture, produces the supersonic cruise missiles that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or land platforms.

BrahMos missile flies at a speed of 2.8 Mach or almost three times the speed of sound. (PTI )