MoD clears Rs 20000-crore air defence deal

In what may give a major boost to the country’s defence preparedness, the government on Friday cleared proposal worth over Rs 20,000 crore for procuring air defence missiles for the Army.

New Delhi: Facing criticism over delays in military acquisitions, Government on Friday cleared proposals worth over Rs 20,000 crore for the procurement of air defence missile systems for the army and other equipment.

The approval for the eight regiments of the Quick Reaction-Surface to Air Missiles (QR-SAMs) by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) comes against the backdrop of serious questions raised by former Army Chief Gen VK Singh over 97 per cent obsolescence in the air defence systems.

The other significant projects cleared by the meeting headed by Defence Minister AK Antony include IAF proposals worth over Rs 8,500 crore for procuring 14 Dornier aircraft and setting up a nationwide communication network and guns for navy and the coast guard ships, defence sources said here.

Approval for procuring eight regiments of QR-SAMs worth over Rs 10,000 crore was accorded in the meeting of which three would be procured during the ongoing 12th Defence Plan, they said.

The army will now issue a global request for proposal for procuring these missiles to replace the Russian-origin Kvadrats and the likely contenders in this project include American Raytheon, Israeli Rafael and French MBDA.

DRDO is also planning to co-develop similar QR-SAMs with the French government but the agreement has not yet come through between the two sides.

On the IAF proposals, sources said after the success of the pilot project of the Air Force Network (AFNET), it will be implemented as a nation-wide network at the cost of Rs 7000 crore.

Proposals of the Navy and the Coast Guard to procure 30 mm guns for their warships were also approved in the meeting, they said.