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Indian defence council approve $1.16 billion in new trainer planes, cannons, rifles and more

HAL HTT-40 at Aero India 2017. (Arunjith Avaneendran, Wikimedia Commons/Released)
August 18, 2020

On Tuesday, Aug. 11, the Indian Ministry of Defence held its Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meeting chaired by Defence minister Rajnath Singh. The Council approved nearly $1.16 billion (8,722 crore INR) worth of purchases for Indian armed forces including 106 basic trainer aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh led the DAC meeting in which the council finalized several pending military purchases, the Hindustan Times reported. The Indian military proposals included the purchase of 106 of the new HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft for the Air Force, to address the basic training process of new pilots in the academy and air force station.

The DAC purchases come as part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” (Self-reliant India) platform proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” platform has primarily focused on self-reliance by developing and purchasing more domestically manufactured equipment for the Indian armed forces.

The HTT-40 is developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The prototype trainer aircraft recently passed key flight and developmental testing and is now waiting for a certification committee to clear it for official use.

In addition to the aircraft purchases for the Air Force, the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard will both have upgraded Super Rapid Gun Mounts (SRGM) installed, to serve as the primary weapons for Naval and coastal forces warships. The SRGMs are developed by Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL). The approved SRGM cannon mounts provide added firepower to India’s naval forces, including the capability to target fast-moving vessels like high-speed missile boats and attack watercraft.

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The DAC also approved proposals to increase Indian self reliance in ammunition procurement. The DAC approved a proposal for domestically developed 125mm APFSDS (Armoured Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot) Main Battle Tank ammunition for the Indian Army. Some 70 percent of the tank ammunition being procured will be made with materials domestically produced in India. The goal is to eventually have all such ammunition produced in India.

The DAC also approved proposals that are likely to speed up procurement of AK-293, including by setting up a plant of production facilities for rifles in North India plus another approval was given for the acquisition of Unmanned aerial vehicles.