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Govt clears defence proposals worth Rs 30-K cr

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NEW DELHI (PTI): The top acquisition committee of the Defence Ministry on Tuesday cleared proposals worth over Rs 30,000 crore, including that to replace army's 60s vintage air defence guns and for buying four more P81 long-range maritime patrol aircraft for the navy.

The biggest takeaway from the meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, was the acceptance of necessity (AON) for replacing L70 and Zu 23mm guns for army's air defence under Buy-and-Make category.

Army will go in for 428 guns at a total cost of Rs 16,900 crore.

Replacing of these vintage guns was a major priority for the army. The DAC approval will now pave the way for issuance of a Request for Proposal (RFP).

Only two Indian companies -- Punj Llyod and Bharat Forge -- had responded to an army request for information on the procurement plan.

The other major deal cleared, for the acquisition of four more P81 aircraft, involves a cost of Rs 4,380 crore.

The original eight-aircraft deal was signed in 2009 and, as per the agreement, three each were to be delivered in 2013 and 2014 and two in 2015.

The navy had in November last year decided to go in for the option clause in the contract under which it can place an order for four more.

The P-8I, based on the Boeing next-generation 737 commercial airplane, is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon used by the US Navy. India was Boeing's first international customer for this aircraft.

Other major deals cleared for the navy include that for the upgrade of weapon and sensor suite of the Delhi and Talwar class ships during their mid-life refit at a cost of Rs 2,900 crore. Six ships will see new surface-to-air missile system that would be bought from Russia, besides new radars.

DAC also extended the AON granted in 2012 for four large survey vessels for the navy worth Rs 2,324 crore. The extension has been granted to pave the way for RFP under the 'Make in India' initiative.
Also approved by DAC was 23 Combat Management Systems for the navy, for installation on smaller ships, at a cost of Rs 624 crore.

Other proposals cleared for the navy included Brahmos Training Facility for Rs 30 crore, replacement of radars for Kora class missile boats for Rs 440 crore, new data transmission and storage system for Delhi class ships for Rs 260 crore and Air Combat Manoeuvring System for MiG-29 and Hawks for Rs 200 crore.

Another proposal, for (radio-frequency identification) RFID access across all naval assets, was cleared at Rs 400 crore.

As for the army, one of its corps will see a replacement of the electronic warfare system, built by BEL, at a cost of Rs 265 crore.

Among other proposals cleared for the army was the acquisition of 14,000 units of multi-spectrum camouflage net, which block visual, thermal and radar signatures from enemy eyes.

A Rs 580 crore proposal for 3.5 lakh modules of B1 modular charger system for 155mm artillery guns was also approved by DAC. The contract is likely to go to a French firm.

The National Cadet Corps got a shot in the arm as DAC approved 110 micro-light aircraft for it with the contract set to go to a Slovenian firm.

A proposal to acquire a simulator for the upgraded Mirage fighter aircraft, too, was okayed.


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