Financial powers delegated to Command Heads
The Deputy Chief and Command Heads of the Armed Forces can now clear capital procurement projects worth up to Rs. 200 crores. The Union Cabinet has approved financial powers for projects under the category ‘Other Capital Procurement Procedure.’ These powers have been delegated to the Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Air officer Maintenance, Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, and Additional Director General of Indian Coast Guard. This Delegation of powers within service headquarters and up to command level for items such as overhauls, refits, upgrades, etc., will enhance the utility of existing assets and facilitate faster processing and implementation of projects. Financial powers for capital procurement projects worth up to Rs. One hundred crores have been delegated to the General Officer Commanding in Chief (GOC-in-C), Flag Officer Commanding in Chief (FOC-in-C), Air Officer Commanding in Chief (AOC-in-C) at services commands and regional commands.
HAL spend Rs. 6,783 crores in R & D
In the last five years, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has made Research and Development spend of Rs. 6,783 crores to push indigenization and value addition to products. The company’s contribution towards the development of indigenous capability in the aviation sector is remarkable. This was made possible by continued focus on technology up-gradation and innovative business initiatives. The company’s success story runs from building Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), both utility and mechanized version, to Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), HTT-40, LCA Mk1A, most of which are in advanced stages of design and development and will be commercially produced in next couple of years. HAL’s 10 R & D centers co-located with production units for ease of manufacture are Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) approved centers. 10% of HAL’s operating profit after the tax goes into R & D efforts. In 2019-20 fiscal, HAL has filed 201 IPR applications taking its cumulative figure to 1823 IPRs, of which 140 have been granted. As a part of its academia-industry linkage program, HAL has established chairs at IITs and IISc. This helps HAL in talent acquisition for aeronautical research while also benefiting from technological developments and their application in R & D programs.
Indian Army to use ideaForge’s drones
The deal between ideaForge and the Indian Army for supplying drones worth Rs. 145 crore signifies a momentous step in the direction of modernization of the Military. The deal would provide an edge to the Army with live visual and thermal surveillance, infiltration and exfiltration detection, mission reconnaissance, and real-time counterintelligence. With a bird’s eye view provided by these drones, any future Galwan type incidents can be avoided. ideaForge’s UAV’s maneuverability, portability, encryption, and compatibility made it stand out among the other national and international contenders. This boosts indigenous Defence-tech industries as a world-beating technology will be built in the country itself. The company outperformed tough international competition to emerge victorious purely on merit. These drones proved their mettle of high endurance even in the toughest conditions. They were stable, robust, fast, and easy to handle.
India has the largest standing army in the world and is the third-largest military spender. The Army is actively spending in the modernization of military assets and their indigenous production in keeping with the spirit of Aatmanirbhar Bharat policy. Earlier, the battalions would use stationary CCTV units, motion sensors, and scouts for ISR, restricting their range, perspective, and usability. Scouts even suffered health concerns due to harsh weather surveillance duties. At the same time, drones can survey large acres of terrain in quick time with live and secure feedback for fast decision making.
The Commanding Officers of battalions can control auto surveillance drones that can quickly spot camouflaged enemy moments. This multiplies the vigilance and cuts down the reaction time along sensitive terrain, as drones can move undetected across the target locations. They can virtually mark and follow moving targets, making drones the ideal strategic and execution partners for the Indian Army. To bypass long defense procurement procedures, the Ministry of Defence issued Emergency Procurement Power to the Indian Army along with the implementation of a Fast Track Procurement (FTP). This enabled the Indian Army’s deal with the ideaForge.
Flight Test of Astra MK II
India’s Latest Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile Astra MK II, indigenously built by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), will be flight tested from a ground launcher at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) off Odisha coast. The initial trial will be to test the weapon system’s ballistic performance. After validating the missile’s safe release from the ground launcher, its propulsion, and navigation, it would be test-fired from a fighter aircraft. Astra MK-I had a range of about 110 kilometers, while its advanced variant has a strike range of 160 kilometers.
The Astra MK II is the latest among the air-to-air missiles of its class as it comes equipped with improved jammer resistance and a dual pulse motor having thrust vector control. The missile performance is improved by an indigenously developed seeker that replaces the Russian radio frequency seeker used in Astra MK-I. The missile will be powered by Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) to increase its strike range. While on the other hand, the Astra MK-I missile has clear ground tests and air trials from a Sukhoi -30 MkI aircraft. It will now be integrated with the Made in India Tejas fighter jet.
Before the Astra MK II test, people residing within a 2-kilometer radius of the ITR will be evacuated as a safety measure with the Balasore District Administration’s help. These people will be compensated as per the Ministry of Defence norms.