IAF Indian Air Force

Looking To Induct Indigenous Weapon Systems Worth Rs 3 Lakh Cr: IAF

IAF Indian Air Force

In a major push to the indigenisation of military assets, the Indian Air Force on Tuesday announced that it was looking at inducting military systems worth around Rs 2.5 to 3 lakh crore.

Indian Air Force chief VR Chaudhari on Tuesday announced a mega acquisition of 97 additional LCA Mark 1A aircraft along with the 83 already ordered by it as one of the biggest projects in this list, adding that the purchase would be worth around Rs 1.25 lakh crores.

He also listed the plan to upgrade the Su-30MKI combat aircraft at a cost of over Rs 64,000 crore as another project on this list.

Chaudhari said the IAF also wants the 166 Light Combat Helicopters worth around Rs 45,000 crore, which would be used by both the Air Force and the Army.

The IAF would get 66, and the Army would get 90 of these choppers, he announced.

Chaudhari said the Indian Air Force is looking to induct these weapon systems in the next seven to eight years, adding that it would give a big boost to its capabilities.

The list of indigenous weapon systems and military assets includes the 180 Light Combat Aircraft Mark 1A, 156 Light Combat Helicopters, Light Utility Choppers, and many other weapon systems that are supposed to feature prominently in the service in the coming years.

The LCA Mark1A, alone, is supposed to be worth over Rs 1.2 lakh crore and is tipped to have a huge impact on the creation of a fighter aircraft manufacturing ecosystem in the country.

Officials said support for building a major defence industry is key to achieving a USD 5 trillion economy as envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, adding that as the ‘Aatmanirbharta’ (self-reliance) programme of the defence forces takes wings, the agenda of the acquisition-related meetings is fast becoming ‘Indian’ in the true sense.

Sharing details of the made-in-India projects in the pipeline, the officials said the Air Force is getting 180 LCA Mark 1A aircraft, for which the first contract for the acquisition of 83 aircraft has already been signed, while the project for the remaining 97 aircraft is set to get the clearance from the Defence Ministry soon.

In the fighter aircraft domain, the Indian Air Force is taking up a major programme to upgrade the Su-30MKI fighter jet fleet under a Rs 65,000 crore project.

The project would be carried out indigenously by a joint team of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and the Indian Air Force, with indigenous radars, avionics, and advanced weapons that the fighters would be equipped with.

The project is being moved to the Defence Ministry and is expected to be discussed at a high level very soon.

The upgrade programme would be carried out first with around 90 aircraft and then implemented on the remaining 160 plus aircraft, gradually bringing them very close to fifth-generation capabilities.

After addressing the development of the Airborne Early and Control Aircraft requirements through a couple of indigenous plans, the Indian Air Force is also working on developing a spy plane that would be able to pick up entire enemy activity.

Intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) aircraft can equip the IAF with a potent instrument for gaining battlefield transparency and situational awareness.

In terms of rotary wing capabilities, the Indian Air Force is going to get a big boost in terms of firepower, giving a similar push to the domestic industry.

The IAF is the lead agency for acquiring 156 light combat helicopters, for which the services are looking at spending around Rs 45,000 crore.

The Air Force would also be supporting the indigenous Light Utility Helicopter to replace the Cheetah/Chetak helicopter fleet from the Air Force and the Army.

It would also be supporting the ambitious Indian Multirole Helicopter programme being undertaken by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

The Defence Ministry recently cleared ‘Project Kusha’ of the Indian Air Force, under which it is going to get five units of the Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR-SAM) which would be similar to the capabilities of the Russian-origin S-400 air defence missile systems, three squadrons of which have already been inducted into the service.

‘Project Kusha’, worth around Rs 21,700 crores, has got the green light from the Defence Ministry. It will be implemented by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) jointly with the private and public sector industries.

The Medium Range-Surface to Air Missile Project has already been completed, and a few missiles have already been inducted into service. The project is worth Rs 14,500 crore.

The Indian Air Force is also awaiting final clearance for its over Rs 7500 core project for Close in Weapon Systems for protecting its critical assets and is being built by the private sector industry for it.

The DRDO is also working to produce the ‘Pralay’ ballistic missiles, which are going to be used by the IAF for use in conventional roles and as warheads.

The Air Force has also inducted the C-295 transport aircraft, which would be the first private sector joint venture to have been created for manufacturing transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force.

The project would see a cash outgo of over Rs 22,000 crore, which would see 40-plus aircraft being manufactured in the country.

The Indian Air Force is also going to get the basic trainer aircraft in the HTT-40, which is being built by the HAL at a cost of Rs 6,100 crores. (ANI)

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