Defence industry Current Affairs - 2019
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Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has approved implementation of Strategic Partnership guidelines. It is considered as major step towards boosting private sector participation in domestic defence manufacturing. The policy had come into effect in May 2017 but progress was delayed due to lack of specific guidelines.
Strategic Partnership Guidelines
SP model aims to revitalise defence industrial ecosystem and progressively build indigenous capabilities in private sector to design, develop and manufacture complex weapon system for future needs of armed forces. It lay emphasis on incentivisation of transfer of niche technology and higher indigenous content.
The SP model has four segments — submarines, single engine fighter aircraft, helicopters and armoured carriers/main battle tanks which will be specifically opened up for the private sector. Under this model, one Indian private company will be selected in each segment which will tie-up with shortlisted global equipment manufacturers to manufacture platforms in India through technology transfer under Make in India. All procurements under the SP model would be executed by specially constituted Empowered Project Committees to “provide focussed attention and ensure timely execution.”
These guidelines lay emphasis on incentivisation of transfer of niche technology and higher indigenous content from global majors, who in collaboration with Indian partners are ready to make India regional and global defence manufacturing hub. It will give major fillip towards encouraging self-reliance and aligning defence sector with the ‘Make in India ‘ initiative.
Indian Army has awarded Rs. 100-crore contract for 81 high mobility 10×10 vehicles to India’s leading vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland. This is for first time Indian vehicle manufacturer will deliver heavy duty, high mobility vehicles for the launchers. This will reduce dependency on imports
The heavy duty, high mobility vehicles manufactured by Ashok Leyland are fully designed, developed and built in India. They will replace Indian Army’s ageing Russian-built Smerch Multi-Barrel Rocket launchers (MBRL). They will also carry strategic missiles developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The indigenous 10×10 vehicle will be powered by Ashok Leyland’s 360HP Neptune engine. It can carry maximum load of 27 tonnes at maximum speed of 60 kmph. Some of these vehicles will be fitted with rocket handling cranes. Ther delivery will start in this financial year and will be completed in next financial year.
India initially procured two regiments of the 12-tube, 300 mm Smerch systems from Russia under Rs. 2,600 crore signed in end 2015, and later procured additional systems under a second deal in 2007. Each regiment has two batteries of six launchers each. The Smerch has a maximum range of 90 km. The indigenising vehicles is key step in improving t maintenance and efficiency of Indian Army’s logistics chain. In recent years, Indian vehicle manufacturers have managed to develop variety of heavy and specialist vehicles required by Armed Forces, thereby reducing import dependency. Ashok Leyland also has won tender from DRDO to develop even heavier 12×12 vehicle to mount country’s long range strategic missiles. These vehicles can carry a maximum load of 34 tonnes.