Army to get ‘Made in India’ bullet proof jackets
Soldiers of the Indian Army will be wearing the Front Hard Armour Panel (FHAP), a light weight bullet proof jacket weighing 9 kg. The jacket has been developed by a DRDO lab, the Defence Materials and Stores Research and Development Establishment (DMSRDE), Kanpur. It was tested at Chandigarh based Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory and fulfilled the relevant BIS standards. A year ago DRDO had designed special jackets filled with liquid to be worn inside PPE kits. These jackets were used by lab technicians of the Jodhpur Health Department as they keep the body cool and cope up with the heat. Towing the line of indigenous development of defence material and equipment, an Army officer developed world’s first universal bulletproof jacket ‘Shakti’. It is world’s first flexible body armour and can be used by both male and female combatants. DRDO’s Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) is ready to be fitted in Kalvari class non-nuclear attack submarines. India has joined an elite club of countries such as the United States, France, China, the United Kingdom and Russia with the development of AIP technology. A fuel-cell based AIP can create energy by combining hydrogen and oxygen with only water as a by-product. These AIPs enable submarines to stay underwater for longer periods than conventional diesel-electric submarines, thereby increasing their range and turning them into more potent and lethal weapon.
WhAP armored vehicle to enter production
The armored vehicle Wheeled Armored Protection (WhAP) developed by DRDO-TATA was put on the export control list by the Ministry of Defence. The vehicle will soon be used by the Indian Army in high altitude areas like Eastern Ladakh as it has already completed its developmental trials. The WhAP armored vehicle is undergoing user trials in extreme conditions from Ladakh to Sikkim over the years. Due to the recent standoff with the Chinese PLA over border issues, the vehicle’s production is being pursued with urgency. DRDO-TATA has done minor modifications in the vehicle as demanded by the Indian Army and has demonstrated most of the capabilities wanted by the Army. Recently, the Army has also placed orders with Mahindra Defence Systems Limited (MDS) for Light Specialist Vehicles (LSV) and with Kalyani Group for Kalyani M4 multi-purpose armored vehicles. The WhAP armored vehicle can carry 10 to 12 personnel and be used as an infantry carrier, reconnaissance vehicle or logistics carrier.
IAF to lease aircraft for pilot training
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is seeking to lease at least 20 basic trainer aircraft for training pilots. As the IAF is facing acute shortage of the trainer aircraft a request for information (RFI) has been sent out to global vendors. The requirement for trainer aircraft has arose due to serviceability issues of the current fleet of Pilatus PC 7 basic trainer aircraft. Its parent company has been banned in India because of corruption allegations. The leased aircraft will be used for three to four years till the indigenous HTT 40 basic trainer joins the service. Preference will be given to Indian companies for the contract. The trainer should be able to undertake four to six sorties a day for intensive training of pilots. Maintenance of the aircraft should also be undertaken by the leasing company along with providing simulator for pilots. IAF is facing shortage of basic and intermediate trainers though it has sufficient number of advanced trainers in service. 260 trainer aircraft, 14 helicopters, 26 Dorniers and 16 An 32 aircraft are currently used for pilot training. The air force is short of 405 pilots against the sanctioned strength of 4239 officers. The air force’s upcoming new selection center in Guwahati will increase the intake capacity.
Akash Missiles ready to be delivered to the Army
The Akash Missiles manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) were flagged off for delivery to the Indian Army. The Akash weapon system has been designed by Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) with 96% indigenous content. BDL manufactures Akash Missiles both for Indian Army and Indian Air Force (IAF) at its Hyderabad unit with multiple supply chain partners including DPSUs, MSMEs and private industry. Akash Missile operates at a speed range of 1.8 to 2.5 Mach and can engage aerial threats up to the maximum range of 25 km and altitude of 20 km. Union Cabinet has also cleared the Akash Weapon System for export. BDL’s full-fledged facility is capable of meeting domestic as well as international demands simultaneously. The weapon system is one among BDL’s product portfolio in its pursuit of self-reliance in Defence.
Tata Motors’ defence business goes to Tata Advanced Systems
With effect from 1 April 2021 Tata Motors Limited (TML) has transferred its Defence business to Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) for Rs 227.7 crores through slump sale as per the Scheme of Arrangement approved by National Company Law Tribunal at Mumbai and Hyderabad. Having a wide portfolio of logistics, combat support and armored vehicles for defence, paramilitary and state police forces, TML has worked in defence sector for several decades. TML has developed state-of-the-art armored carriers and platforms such as Wheeled Amphibious Armored Fighting Vehicles, Mine protected and Light Armored Multi-Role Vehicles. TML has been a partner of Indian defence establishment for various strategic projects such as MRSAM, Akash, Agni, BrahMos, etc. TML exports a wide range of defence vehicles to SAARC, ASEAN and African nations. TASL is a wholly owned subsidiary of TATA Sons and it focusses on providing integrated solutions for aerospace, defence and homeland security. The TATA Group aims to consolidate defence businesses under a single entity and this transfer to TASL is in line with the Group’s objective of bringing scale and synergy in its projects. Still TML will be playing a significant role in the value chain by supplying chassis and aggregates to TASL for developing specialized defence applications and supply pure civilian PVs and CVs to defence forces directly. TASL will look forward to cater to the defence customers in and outside India by focusing on new designs and development capabilities. This will help expand its global footprint to provide specialist, high value-added and futuristic solutions.