Big boost! Govt clears purchase of AWACS for IAF, P8I for Navy, heavy helicopters for coast guard


Defence News India: The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by defence minister Rajnath Singh, Thursday cleared the acquisition of defence hardware including AWACS, long range maritime reconnaissance P8I aircraft and heavy helicopters for Indian Air Force, Navy and coast guard. It also cleared the purchase of thermal imaging night sights for assault rifles used by Indian military. The total acquisition cost has been pegged at Rs 22,800 crore.

As a follow up of the successful indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) programme, the apex body to clear defence acquisitions in the country, revalidated the Acceptance of Necessity for the procurement of additional Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) India aircraft.

“The mission system and sub-systems for these aircraft would be indigenously designed, developed and integrated onto the main platform by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO),” defence ministry said.

These platforms would provide on-board Command & Control and ‘Early Warning’ which would assist the Indian Air Force (IAF) in achieving effective air space dominance in the least possible time. Induction of these systems would increase the extent of coverage along our borders and greatly enhance both the Air Defence and Offensive capabilities of the IAF.

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The DAC also approved procurement of Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance (LRMR) Anti-Submarine Warfare P8I aircraft for the Indian Navy. Indian Navy already operates P8I aircraft acquired from the USA for its reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare missions.

Indian Navy has also started operating these P8I aircraft from Andaman and Nicobar islands.

“These aircraft would greatly strengthen the Navy’s capabilities for maritime coastal surveillance, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti-Surface Vessel (ASV) strike,” said the ministry of defence.

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The Defence Acquisition Council chaired by defence minister Rajnath Singh also approved procurement of Twin Engine Heavy Helicopters (TEHH) for the Indian Coast Guard.

These aircraft would enable the Coast Guard to undertake missions to prevent maritime terrorism, infiltration of terrorists by sea routes as well as Search & Rescue operations.

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To boost the ‘Make in India’ initiative, the DAC accorded approval for indigenous design, development and manufacturing of ‘Thermal Imaging Night Sights’ for Assault Rifles.

These sights will be manufactured by the Indian private industry and used by troops deployed on the frontline. ‘Thermal Imaging Night Sights’ would enable troops to undertake long range accurate engagements in dark and all weather conditions thereby enhancing the night fighting capabilities.

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