The government is set to procure 21 MiG-29 Fighter Jets and 12 Sukhoi SU-30 MkI Aircraft
After approving purchase of 83 LCA Tejas Mk1 Aircraft, the government is set to procure 21 MiG-29 Fighter Jets and 12 Sukhoi SU-30 MkI Aircraft from Russia. India would be getting position of these aircrafts at relatively lower prices.
Government has also approved upgradation of existing 59 MiG-29 fighter jets. India’s contract with Russia was for 272 Sukhoi-30 MkI jets of which 268 have been procured and 9 lost in crashes over the years. This deal has come at a point when India is in a bitter face-off with China and conditions between these two nations is tense.
With all decks cleared for procurement of 83 LCA Tejas Mk1 Aircraft, Indian Air Force is proposing to adopt former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s initials ‘MPP’ as tail number of these jets. This is to honour his efforts of bringing on board various stakeholders like Indian Air Force and HAL for Tejas development. He played instrumental role in making HAL the lead integrator of the program and outsource most of the manufacturing to private sector. This helped in speedy approval for Tejas Mk1A jets rather than Tejas Mk2 as latter would have taken more time to develop, worsening the situation of IAF’s declining fighter planes number.
Each unit of Tejas Mk1A would cost $52.5 Million after 18% GST is added to it. Baseline Tejas Mk1A after HAL profit margin of 6% is going to be $44.5 Million per unit before GST. Additional funds have been provided for performance based logistics, development of supply chain for the program. For Maintenance and servicing, additional Rs. 1,202 Crores have been provided to the Indian Air Force. Thus, Indian Air Force will be able to utilize its fleet more effectively as repair infrastructure would be available for its use at its bases.
Indian Army demonstrated its intent to deploy drone swarms
On Army Day, Indian Army demonstrated its intent to deploy drone swarms for offensive military operations in the future. The Armed Forces have around 100 large Israeli UAVs from Heron and Searcher-II to Harop, apart from indigenous ones. “Project Cheetah” is planned to equip Herons with laser guided bombs, aimed to ground anti-tank missiles and precision guided ammunitions.
The swarming of drones can execute attacks over enemy territory with surgical precision. Their autonomy is enabled with a complex interface between on board computers, smart and adaptive AI algorithms, advanced photometry and edge-computing for better target designation. Swarms are driven by continuous satellite feeds, digital terrain scene matching and area correlation techniques. Both pre-programmed as well as opportunity targets can be engaged. Demonstration included mother drones releasing child drones, armed with explosives to crash into the targets in Kamikaze strikes.
Drones can prove to be instrumental in ammunition and resources supply for troops in difficult terrains. The Army is working with DRDO and private sector in order to develop this technology and take it a notch higher.