India’s long spell of dependence on imports for fighter aircraft may finally begin to change with the induction of the three decades overdue Tejas, on 04 July ’16. Costing $24 million per unit, approximately one-tenth of the cost of Lockheed Martin’s F-35. The Tejas achieves a maximum speed of 1,370mph (2200kmh) compared to the F-35’s 1,199mph (1929kmh) and is the lightest multi-role supersonic aircraft of its class, equipped with surface-to-air, air-to-air and anti-ship missiles with inflight manoeuvrability that exceeds the slower F-35. “It is comparable and on par with any fourth generation fighter aircraft you have in the world,” reportedly said Group Captain Madhav Rangachari, Commanding Officer of the Indian Air Force ‘Flying Daggers 45’ squadron.
The purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft in a government-to-government contract, announced after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s April 2015 visit to France, followed by Defence Ministry scrapping an earlier plan to purchase 126 Rafale’s, is expected to be finalised in the near future. With the clause of delivering 50 percent offsets, creating business worth at least 3 billion Euros for smaller Indian companies, it may generate a few thousand new jobs in India.
On 29 July 16, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in reply to questions in Lok Sabha, shared information of substantial progress in defence production and procurements.On 28 September 2015 two contracts were signed with US Government and Boeing, for Apache attack helicopters costing Rs.13,951.57 crore, and Chinook heavy lift helicopters costing Rs. 8047.85 crore. The delivery of both will commence from March to July, 2019 and be completed by March, 2020. So far, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has issued 342 licenses to 205 Indian private companies for manufacturing of defence equipment such as artillery guns, tanks/combat vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters, radars, warships etc. Since the beginning of financial year 2014-15,128 industrial licenses for defence have been issued to 97 Indian private companies.
To encourage export of defence equipment by Indian manufacturing companies, the Government has taken the following measures:-
- Defence Export Strategy has been formulated and placed in the public domain. The Strategy provides for creation of an Export Promotion Body, engaging Indian missions / embassies abroad in export promotion, export financing through line of credit etc., better use of offset policy, export of indigenously developed defence systems and streamlining of the export regulation process.
- The list of military stores for the purpose of issuing NOC for export has been notified by the Government to remove ambiguity and to make the process transparent.
- Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for issue of No Objection Certificate (NOC) for export of military stores has been simplified and put in public domain. Requirement of Government signed End User Certificate (EUC) for export of parts and components and other non-sensitive military stores has been done away with.
- The process of applying for NOC for export of military stores has been made on-line. ? Specific time frame has been prescribed in SOP for issue of NOC for export of military stores.
- The provision of ‘in-principle’ approval for export of specific items to specific countries has been incorporated in the SOP to enable Indian companies to explore export opportunities in overseas markets.
In the last three years and the current financial year, defence equipment such as Do-228 aircraft, offshore patrol vessels, Chetak helicopters, SONARS, 4×4 vehicles, simulators, over-vests, ballistic helmets etc. have been exported to major countries like Brazil, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey etc. Based on the Army’s strategic requirement of 231 roads of length 7122.47 Kms in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) are included in the Long Term Roll on Works Plan (LTRoWP) for construction/ upgrading. The work on these roads is generally progressing as per the LTRoWP, out of which 157 roads are planned for completion up to year 2020 and remaining 74 roads beyond year 2020. Apart from the 231 roads under construction/ upgrading, 133 completed roads are entrusted to Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in J&K exclusively for maintenance.