India’s Defence Acquisition Council Greenlights Mega Deal for Tejas Aircraft and Prachand Helicopters

The Ministry of Defence, in a significant move towards bolstering national defense, granted preliminary approval on November 30 for a substantial procurement initiative. Valued at Rs 2.23 lakh crore, the proposal includes acquiring an additional fleet of 97 Tejas light combat aircraft and approximately 150 Prachand helicopters, along with other essential equipment. The focus on indigenous projects underscores a commitment to strengthening ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defense, with 98 percent of the expenditure directed towards domestic industries.

Boosting Operational Capabilities

The Defence Acquisition Council’s nod encompasses a diverse set of acquisitions, totaling Rs 2.23 lakh crore, aimed at enhancing the operational prowess of the Armed Forces. A significant portion of this investment, 98 percent, is earmarked for sourcing from domestic industries, aligning with the nation’s self-reliance goals. The approved acquisitions include Light Combat Helicopters and Light Combat Aircraft Mk 1A from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Additionally, the procurement plan covers Medium Range Anti-Ship Missiles for the surface platform of the Indian Navy, with clearance granted for the acquisition of Towed Gun Systems to replace Indian Field Guns.

HAL’s Crucial Role as Domestic Supplier

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) plays a pivotal role as the primary domestic supplier of Tejas and Prachand aircraft. The approval of capital acquisition proposals further solidifies HAL’s position in contributing to the nation’s defense capabilities. As a result of these developments, HAL’s shares closed 1.65 percent higher at Rs 2,382.30, reflecting investor confidence in the company’s strategic role.

Strategic Developments and Future Plans

This approval coincides with a crucial meeting scheduled by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The envisioned project, estimated at Rs 55,000 crore, seeks to supplement the existing fleet of 83 Tejas jets. The report also sheds light on India’s naval capabilities, including the addition of a new carrier capable of accommodating at least 28 fighter jets and helicopters. The country aims to have 160 warships by 2030 and 175 by 2035, with ongoing construction activities and upgraded runway facilities in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to support night landings.

Tejas Mk-1A: India’s Indigenous Fourth-Generation Fighter

The Tejas Mk-1A Light Combat Aircraft, India’s first self-made fighter jet, received final operational clearance in February 2019. Equipped with advanced features such as an active electronically-scanned array radar and air-to-air refueling capabilities, the Tejas Mk-1A showcases the nation’s prowess in fourth-generation fighter technology. This indigenously designed and manufactured aircraft is a critical component of India’s air defense strategy.

Prachand Helicopters and Naval Upgrades

The first batch of Prachand Light Combat Helicopters was successfully inducted into the Indian Air Force and the Army last year. The report also highlights India’s ambitious plans for naval expansion, with a focus on countering regional challenges. Upgraded runway facilities in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands further underscore India’s commitment to strengthening its defense infrastructure.

the Defence Acquisition Council’s approval marks a significant stride in India’s pursuit of enhanced defense capabilities, emphasizing self-sufficiency and indigenous projects. The Tejas aircraft and Prachand helicopters play a central role in this strategic initiative, positioning India as a formidable force in the realm of national security.

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