Army finalizes Rs. 15,000cr deal to procure critical weapons, tanks
After years of deliberations, the Army has finalized a mega Rs. 15,000cr project under which a range of ammunition for its critical weapons and tanks will be produced indigenously to overcome long delays in imports and address the problem of a dwindling stockpile. 11 private firms would be involved in the ambitious project, the implementation of which is being monitored by Defense Ministry.
Aim of the project is to create inventory of weapons
The immediate aim of the project is to create an inventory of all major weapons to enable the forces to fight a 30-day war while the long-term objective is to cut dependence on imports. Initially, ammunition for a range of rockets, air defense system, artillery guns, infantry combat vehicles, grenade launchers and other field weapons would be produced under "strict timelines", a source said.
Production targets would be revised after first phase of program
The production targets would be revised based on the result of the first phase of the implementation of the program. The initiative is seen as the first serious attempt by the government to address growing concerns over the fast dwindling stockpile of key ammunition when China has been significantly ramping up its military capability, an issue that has been discussed by successive governments.
Army General pushes up for fast procurement of weapons
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has been pushing for fast-tracking the procurement of weapons and ammunition for the world's second-largest standing Army, considering the evolving security threats in the region.
Of 152, only 61 types of ammunition present: CAG
In July last year, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), in a report tabled in the Parliament, said a stock of only 61 types of ammunition out of 152 varieties was available, and these would only last for 10 days in the event of a war. According to laid down security protocol, the stockpile should be adequate for a month-long war.
Long delays in negotiations adversely impacted country's defense preparedness
Long delays in negotiations and subsequent procedural hurdles in the import of ammunition had adversely impacted the country's defense preparedness and that was why the indigenization program had been initiated. Last year, the government had empowered the Army to directly procure ammunition and spares for 10 types of weapon systems after an internal review found the optimum level of "war stores" wasn't being maintained.
Government finalized Rs. 40,000cr deal to procure light machine-guns, battle-carbines
Considering the Army's demand, the government has already finalized one of the biggest procurement plans for infantry modernization under which large numbers of light machine guns, battle carbines, and assault rifles are being purchased at a cost of nearly Rs. 40,000 crore.