Night-vision devices for Indian Army approved



New Delhi: The Defence Ministry today approved a Rs 2,820 crore proposal to provide night-vision devices to the Army to enable its tanks and infantry combat vehicles to have capability to fight in both day and night conditions.

A meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister A K Antony also approved proposals to upgrade the 130 mm artillery guns of the Army along with amendments in procurement procedure to boost indigenisation in defence production, Defence Ministry sources said here.

Under the plans to do away with the night blindness of Army's mechanised fleet including the Russian-origin T-90 and T-72 tanks and the BMP Infantry Combat Vehicles (ICV), around 5,000 thermal imaging sights would be procured from defence PSU Bharat Electronics limited, they said.

For the T-72, which are the main stay of the Indian Army, 2,000 pieces of TI sights would be procured for Rs 1,000 crore while 1,200 pieces would be bought for the T-90 Main Battle Tanks for Rs 960 crore.

1,780 pieces of TI sights would be inducted for the BMP Infantry Combat Vehicles for Rs 860 crore, they said.

The Army has been worried over night-fighting capabilities of its armoured columns and reports had earlier suggested that only 50 per cent of the tank fleet of the forces had this ability.

Meanwhile, the Ministry also cleared a proposal to upgrade the existing inventory of M-46 130mm artillery guns to 155mm guns through the Ordnance Factory Board.

The OFB has plans of modernising its facilities under a Rs 15,000 crore plan in the ongoing 12th Defence Plan.

The DAC also discussed the amendments in the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) under which efforts to boost indigenisation in defence sector would be encouraged.

The amendments are based on the Ravinder Gupta Committee report on boosting indigenisation which has given suggestions to give the first right of refusal to the indigenous industry for the weapon system requirement of the armed forces.

The DPP will also focus on bringing more changes in the ship-building sector in the country to increase the production capabilities of the Indian shipyards to construct ships at a faster rate.

However, discussions on the amendments remained inconclusive and would be taken up again in the next DAC on April 20.

The DAC also approved a Navy proposal for procuring equipment for the four large size amphibious warfare vessels to be procured by it at a cost of Rs 25,000 crore.

A proposal for procuring anti-tank weaponry for the armed forces was also discussed during the meeting.

PTI