DAC approves proposals worth Rs.13,700 crore
Defense Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh, has approved capital acquisition proposals of various weapons, platforms, equipment, and systems required by the armed forces’ three wings on February 23, 2021. Three Acceptance of Necessities (AoNs) in the highest priority category of Defence Acquisition viz ‘Buy [Indian IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)] were accorded for an overall cost of Rs. 13,700 crore. These will include platforms and systems designed and developed by DRDO. The DAC also approved that all capital acquisition contracts (delegated and non-delegated) shall be concluded in two years. The defense establishment is fully committed to the Atmanirbhar Bharat goals of the government. To this effect, it wants a time-bound procurement process, faster decision making, and systematically works towards reducing the time taken for capital acquisition.
The Ministry of Defence approved the acquisition of 118 Arjun Mark 1A tanks for the Indian Army worth Rs. 6,000 crores. The 58-tonne weight DRDO developed tanks would be delivered within 30 months of the contract being signed. The DAC also cleared proposals to acquire indigenously developed Nag anti-tank guided missiles and Arudhra medium power radar.
AHTSSV manufactured by L&T delivered to the Chilean Navy
Janequeo, a ship belonging to the Chilean Navy, reached the base port of Valparaiso Harbour on February 23, 2021. The ship is built by the Indian firm Larsen & Toubro (L&T). The 17 meters long, 19 meters wide ATF-65 Janequeo ship departed from Wellington Port in New Zealand on January 28, 2021. It has a displacing capacity of 2,500 tonnes and a maximum draft of 6.2 meters. It is equipped with advanced diesel hybrid propulsion, as it has a static pull capacity of 150 tonnes and can carry 38 crew members and 22 passengers. It also has a DP2 dynamic positioning system to respond to emergencies and for the ease of rescue operations. This ship is a part of the set of 2 vessels initially ordered by the Halul Offshore Services Company, a fleet owner firm from Qatar. The Qatar-based firm later canceled the deal, and these two vessels were put on sale.
L&T bagged the order of USD 11.5 million for the twin-screw, Anchor handling, Towing, Supply, and Standoff Vehicle (ATV). The US Department of Defence (DoD) placed the order on March 4, 2020, on behalf of the Chile Government. The ship was constructed at L&T’s Kattupalli Shipyard. The sanitary and other facilities were improved, and new paint was applied on the ship’s body before handing it over to the Chilean Navy.
HAL’s CATS Hunter system
At Aero India 2021, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has unveiled the CATS Hunter system belonging to the Combat Air Teaming System (CATS). It will have a Tejas Mk1 Trainer as ‘Mothership for Air Teaming eXploitation’ (MAX) with a Weapon Station Officer (WSO) in charge of the CATS Warrior, a low observable unmanned wingman, CATS ALFA (Air-Launched Flexible Assets) in a Glider Pod that will cruise for 100 km before launching a swarm of battery-operated weaponized drones and can further travel 100 km deep inside hostile region.
CATS Hunter is a long-range, autonomous, high-precision air-to-surface cruise missile equipped with an Imaging Infrared (IIR) seeker and an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) for high-precision guidance. It has a fuel tank, air inlet, wing deployment system, powered by a PTAE-7 turbojet engine with the rear section fitted with control fins to provide lifting and improved maneuverability. Its multi-purpose weapons carriage system can be equipped with a 250 kg warhead. After dropping it over the target, Hunter can autonomously return to the base, where it is recovered using a two-tier parachute system. Then it can be taken back to the workshop for refueling and rearming, making it available for the next mission within a short span of time. CATS Hunter can be reprogrammed with fresh sets of satellite images of its new target, enabling it to work even in Jammed airspace without requiring any satellite or mid-flight updates. If the Hunter is unable to locate its target, it will find another target from its library or head back home.
CATS Hunter will be a 600-700 kg system with a 250 kg warhead, giving it a 250-350 km range. However, if in specific missions, missile can’t be recovered due to range constraints, then the missile will attack its target like a standard Air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) and self-destruct itself.
ARHMD system for Indian Army
Indian Army is about to acquire quantity 556 Augmented Reality Head Mounted Display (ARHMD) systems under the Make-2 category. It will enhance Land-Based Air Defence Weapon Systems’ capability such as IGLA shoulder-fired Infra-Red Homing Air Defence Missile System and ZU 23 mm 2B AD Gun System, which will provide the operator with radar and Thermal Imaging (TI) sight outputs as overlays. This will enhance capability during the night and harsh weather conditions. Daytime engagements will also be enhanced through increased reaction times, data computation for decision support, and integration of TI sight output. The project sanction order has been issued on February 22 to six vendors for the development of the prototype. It will boost the self-reliance efforts of the Indian Defence Industry in sync with the Atmanirbhar Bharat policy of the government.
IAF Chief visits BAF Base
Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauriya met his Bangladeshi counterpart Air Chief Marshall Masihuzzaman Serniabat on February 24, 2021. Both chiefs discussed matters of mutual cooperation. One day earlier, the Indian Air Chief visited the Altar of Shikha Anirban in Dhaka Cantonment and paid tributes to the soldiers who laid down their lives in the Liberation War of 1971. He is on a three-day visit to Bangladesh to strengthen the ties between the two countries’ armed forces.
He also paid a visit to the Zahurul Haque, the Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) base at Chattogram and St. Martin’s Islands, and interacted with the BAF officers.