Major defence deals despite Elections
As per the previous history, the government in general shy away from taking major decisions in the election season to focus more on election campaign, especially in the defence sector. But this has changed with the current PM Modi led government and despite Lok Sabha elections, much needed deals have been closed in the defence sector recently, viz.:
Talwar Class Frigates: 4 months before elections, on Nov 20, 2018, India acquired 2 Talwar class frigates from Russia at $950mn for the Indian Navy, which will be fitted with Brahmos Missile system.
Replacement for INSAS rifles: India’s infantry battling with decades old INSAS rifle as primary weapon got a boost by:
1. Sig Sauer 716 rifle: 72.4k rifles were purchased via Fast Track Procurement at Rs.700cr. (~66k rifles for Army, 2k for Navy & 4k for IAF).
2. AK 203 rifle: AK 203, the most advanced version of AK 47 will be produced at OFB Korwa, Amethi in a JV between Kalshnikovs and OFB, inked on March 2019. More significantly, 100% indigenisation will be achieved in 32 months.
MH-60 R choppers: One of the best choppers for Anti-Submarine Warfare and SAR operation, 24 MH 60-R were procured from US at $2.4Bn on Apr’19. It will replace the ageing fleet of Westland Seaking choppers, inducted in 80s.
Athos 2052: Israel firm Elbit and Bharat Forge JV emerged as a L1 bidder over Trajan howitzers of Nexter, France this April. It is cheaper than even locally produced Dhanush howitzer and will complement ATAGs howitzer of the same category.
Spike Anti-Tank Missile: An emergency purchase of 240 Spike guided anti tank missiles and 12 launchers have been procured as the indigenous man portable NAG and DRDO MPATGM missiles are under development.
Mi 17v5 Repair & overhaul unit: Mi17v5 chopper, the backbone of Transport and Utility operations in the armed forces, finally got a repair and overhaul unit in Chandigarh this April leading to its enhanced maintenance and service.
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