India to get more fighter jets as defence panel clears massive deal

New Delhi (TIP)- In a big boost for the military as well as defence production in India, the Defence Acquisition Council has cleared the procurement of 97 additional Tejas aircraft and 156 Prachand attack helicopters. Both aircraft are indigenously developed and the value of these deals is around Rs 1.1 lakh crore.
The Tejas Mark 1-A fighters are being acquired for the Indian Air Force and the choppers for the Air Force and the Army. Additional deals, including for anti-ship missiles and towed gun systems, have also been approved, taking the total value to Rs 2.23 lakh crore.
Rs 2.2 lakh crore, or 98% of the total amount, will be sourced from domestic industries. This will not only give a massive leg up to ‘aatmanirbharta’ in defence but also create jobs over the long run.
This is the largest order book that indigenous manufacturers have received in India’s history. What has been granted now, however, is an Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) and contract negotiations will take place with manufacturers after that. This will take time, but the period may be far shorter than it would have been if foreign manufacturers were involved.
Once a final price is negotiated, the last sign-off will be done by the Cabinet Committee on Security. The final induction into the military may take at least 10 years.
A major upgrade of the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI was also cleared by the council, under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, on Thursday. The IAF has over 260 Su-30 aircraft and the upgrade is expected to be an indigenous one, with India-developed radars, avionics and subsystems. Around 84 aircraft are expected to be upgraded initially.
The Council also approved the replacement of the Indian field gun, which has completed its service life, with a state-of-the-art towed gun system. Towed gun systems are not only more mobile but also have longer barrels, and thus a longer firing range.

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