Make in India Current Affairs - 2020

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BrahMos Missile: Godrej Aero gets new contract for missile airframes

Godrej Aerospace has won order from BrahMos Aerospace Pvt. Ltd. (BAPL) for supply of additional 100 units airframe fuel management systems for BrahMos Air-Launched Cruise Missile.

Godrej Aerospace is unit of Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. It has been associated with BrahMos since 2000 and most recently it had completed supply of its 100th airframe for the missile.

Key Facts

Godrej Aerospace supplies airframes for land and sea versions of the BrahMos missile to BrahMos Aerospace. Both versions have been inducted by army and navy. The air version currently has 65% of sub-systems indigenously manufactured, while a little more than 50% of entire missile is indigenously produced.

BrahMos missile

Brahmos is supersonic cruise missile developed by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint-venture between Russia’s Mashinostroyenia and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It operates on ‘fire and forget principal’ and is capable of being launched from land, sea, sub-sea and air against sea and land targets.

It is hailed as world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile in operation. It is two-stage missile, the first one being solid and the second one ramjet liquid propellant. It is capable of carrying warhead of 300 kilogram (both conventional as well as nuclear).

It has top supersonic speed of Mach 2.8 to 3 (roughly three times speed of sound).  Its range was extended 600-km plus and capability to strike the targets with pinpoint accuracy after India became member of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in 2016.

The Indian Navy and Army already operate different variants of Brahmos missile. In November 2017, air version of BrahMos missile was successfully fired from Sukhoi. BrahMos Aerospace is currently working on miniature version of missile, called BrahMos NG. It is still in the design stage and development is a few years away. The mini version will enable Sukhois to carry multiple missiles. Currently, the Sukhoi can carry only one BrahMos at a time.

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DAC clears mega project to acquire 111 helicopters for Indian Navy

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman accorded acceptance of necessity (AoN) for the procurement 111 naval utility helicopters (NUHs) worth Rs 21,738 crore for Indian Navy. DAC is Defence Ministry’s highest decision-making body on procurement.

Approval Process

AoN is first step of procurement of an defence equipment. After DAC gives AoN, request for proposal can be issued to firms, seeking their responses with technical and commercial bids. Before this step, Indian Navy had issued a request for information (RFI) for procurement of 111 NUHs.

Key Facts

It is first proposal under strategic partnership model to get approval which is considered as a major boost to defence manufacturing in country. Under strategic partnership model, foreign Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) ties up with a domestic strategic partner to manufacture weapon systems.

As part of proposal, 16 naval utility helicopters (NUHs) will be procured in fly away state from selected foreign OEM and remaining 95 will be made by Indian strategic partner in India. Firms, including Sikorsky, Bell and Airbus are likely contenders for this project and will have to respond to RFI with information on capabilities they have to manufacture these helicopters.

According to RFI issued by Indian Navy, these NUHs should be able to perform roles including search and rescue, anti-piracy, disaster relief, surveillance and medical evacuation. This will involve ferrying troops and supplies to warships. The helicopters will also be submarine hunters and also have torpedoes.

Active towed array sonar systems

DAC has also accorded AoN for procurement of 9 active towed array sonar systems (advanced) for Indian Navy at an estimated cost of Rs 450 crore. This sonar system will be fitted on modern naval vessels and will enhance their submarine detection capabilities. This is especially important in light of China planning to increase its submarine fleet in the coming years and its growing naval presence in the Indian Ocean.

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