On November 30, 2023, the Indian government approved what is believed to be one of the largest defence deals of the country, placing orders to purchase 97 Tejas LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) and 156 Prachanda helicopters to boost the overall combat capability of the Indian Armed Forces, media reports said.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, approved the deals worth around RS 650 billion, making it the country’s largest defence fighter aircraft deal. “The DAC, under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajanth Singh (Raksha Mantri) on November 30, 2023, has accorded the approval in respect of the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for various Capital Acquisition Proposals worth Rs 2.23 lakh crores of which 2.20 lakh crores (98 per cent of the AoN) will be sourced from domestic industries,” the government said in a statement.
This will substantially boost the Indian Defence industry towards achieving the goal of Atmanirbharta (Self-reliance). In the Indian Defense Parlance, the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) is a formal first step in the procurement process.
Induction into Military
Once the DAC grants approval for the AoN, contract negotiations with the Defence Manufacturers will begin, which may take time, but not for longer than it would have been if foreign players were involved. After the negotiations of the pricing and other requirements are concluded, the proposal will be sent to the Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS), which is at the apex of India’s higher defence organisation, for clearance.
Usually, the final induction into the military may take a few years or up to a decade. Moreover, the DAC has also approved deals for the procurement of two types of anti-tank munitions, namely the Area Denial Munition (ADM) Type-2 and Type-3, which are capable of neutralising the enemy tanks and hostile armoured vehicles that can carry enemy personnel.
“To replace the Indian Field Gun (IFG), which has completed its service and tenure, AoN for procurement of the state-of-the-art the art Towed Gun System (TGS) has been granted, which will become the mainstay of the Artillery Forces of the Indian Army.
Similarly, the AoN was accorded for the 155mm Nubless projectiles for use in 155mm Artillery guns, which will enhance the lethality and safety of the projectiles. All this equipment of the Indian Army will be procured under the Buy (IDDM) category,” it said.
Biggest Ever Deals
Both the Tejas LCA and LCH Prachanda helicopters are developed by government run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The Tejas-LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) is an indigenously designed and manufactured fourth-generation fighter capable of taking various roles such as Offensive Air Support, ground attack and close combat tasks. It has replaced the obsolete MiG-21 fighter aircraft.
It is equipped with an AESA (Synthetic Radar) Electronic Warfare Suite (EW), radar jamming and warning systems, Digital Map Generators (DMG), Smart Multifunction Displays (SMFD), Combined Interrogator and Transponder, Advanced Radio Altimeter, and other advanced features.
The Prachanda (Light Combat Helicopter) is India’s first indigenously multi-combat helicopter developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). It is designed to meet the specific needs of the Indian Armed Forces for operating in deserts as well as high-altitude mountains.