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Updated December 25th, 2023 at 12:18 IST

Year-ender: India's $49 billion defence acquisitions in 2023, nod for Rafale, warships, Tejas & more

MoD’s approved landmark acquisitions worth $49 billion, focusing on increasing capabilities and encouraging self-reliance in all branches of the Armed forces.

India's Defence Ministry landmark acquisitions worth $49 billion to strengthen capabilities of Indian Armed Forces
India's Defence Ministry landmark acquisitions worth $49 billion to strengthen capabilities of Indian Armed Forces | Image:Reuters
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New Delhi: Indian Armed Forces along with the Defence Ministry witnessed a year of decisive decision-making regarding its acquisitions to fortify and strengthen its defences.Throughout 2023, the Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, greenlit an array of crucial proposals collectively valued at over Rs 3.50 lakh crore (over $49 billion). These landmark measures were taken to augment and increase the operational readiness of India’s Armed Forces.

Strengthening the Armed Forces’ arsenal on land, air and sea

Back in November, the Defence Acquisition Council gave the go-ahead for Capital Acquisition Proposals amounting to Rs 2.23 lakh crore or over 29 billion dollars. According to avaliable information, the lion’s share, standing at 98 percent of the total AoN amount, was set aside for procurement from domestic industries. Approval was granted for the acquisition of important assets such as Light Combat Helicopters (LCH), Light Combat Aircraft Mk 1A (Tejas MK1A), and the upgradation of Su-30 MKI aircraft. The Indian Navy's surface platform also received a nod for Medium-Range Anti-Ship Missiles, while the Indian Field Gun under the MoD has been approved for replacement with another Towed Gun System.

Boosting self-reliance & Atmanirbharta through collaborations and development

In July, the DAC cleared the way for the procurement of 26 Rafale Marine aircraft and associated equipment from the French Government,valuing at approximately Rs 50,000 crore (over $6 billion). Additionally, in June, the acquisition of 31 High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) from the USA through the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) route was also given the green light, at around $3 billion . Both deals receiving the initial nod are said to hold larger importance for future defence ties with Western nations.

The Defence Acquisition Council's recent clearances have highlighted 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat', with the majority of the proposals falling under Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed, and Manufactured). These include vanguard acquisitions such as BrahMos missiles, Shakti EW systems, Utility Helicopters-Maritime, Dornier aircrafts, improved Akash air defence systems, Offshore Patrol Vessels, as well as fleet support vessels. Additionally, the procurement of Advanced Light Helicopters MK-III for the Indian Coast Guard from HAL includes various necessary subcomponents, notably crucial communication equipment.

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Contracts worth a total of Rs 17,176 crore or $2.3 billion were also inked with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) to enhance the operational capabilities of the Armed Forces. The agreements with BEL include crucial systems like Medium Power Radars, Radar Warning Receivers, Integrated Electronic Warfare Systems, and more.

Building for the future

The Ministry of Defence also sealed agreements for the procurement of 70 HTT-40 Basic Trainer Aircraft for the Indian Air Force and three Cadet Training Ships for the Indian Navy. These developments are slated to enhance the current training capabilities, infrastructure, and shape a new future readiness while promoting indigenous manufacturing and generating substantial employment opportunities.

Additionally, humanitarian aid focus was also there. Some acquisitions, such as patrol vessels and support ships, were not just military assets but also designed for humanitarian missions like Search & Rescue and Disaster Relief Operations. Adding to the intrigue was the signing of the 300th contract under Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), marking a crucial leap in indigenous design and development for advanced defence applications, including the incorporation of Gallium Nitride tech in its future Jet subcomponents, which includes Radars.

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Published December 25th, 2023 at 11:40 IST

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