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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

We can export fighter planes, missiles: DRDO chief

PTI  New Delhi, June 22, 2014
First Published: 23:37 IST(22/6/2014) | Last Updated: 23:39 IST(22/6/2014)

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressing on the need for increasing arms exports, DRDO has said India can sell combat aircraft and missiles whose production cost would be “much lower” than some of the weapons sold by countries such as China.

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief Avinash Chander said that the country needs a “policy mechanism” for exporting weapon systems and the defence research agency has suggested a “single window clearance” for sale of arms to friendly foreign countries in a time-bound manner.

“We have a list of equipment that includes the light combat aircraft ‘Tejas’, ‘Akash’ air defence system, ‘Prahar’ class of missiles and ‘BrahMos’ supersonic cruise missiles along with a number of systems that can be exported,” he told PTI.

Tejas is a lightweight, multi-role, single-engine tactical fighter aircraft. Akash, a surface-to-air missile, has a range of 25 kms.

Prahar is a 150 km-range tactical missile system while BrahMos is a supersonic cruise missile with a strike range of 290 kms.

“We are discussing the methodology for developing the export potential as well as a policy mechanism for export of weapon systems,” Chander said.

The DRDO chief was asked about a recent comment by the Prime Minister that India should produce arms for itself and also supply them to other nations.

Asked about the cost-benefit for countries procuring arms from India, Chander said, “Many times Indian weapons are a lot cheaper.”

He added that for getting into the business of arms exports, the country “needs a framework on what can be exported. It depends on which country, how to protect misuse”.

Chander also stressed on the fact that a number of issues related to arms exports which need to be addressed.

“What we are suggesting is that there should be a single-window clearance system for export of weapons in a timebound manner,” the DRDO chief said.

He also said several countries have shown interest in the Akash missile system, which was ready to be inducted into the Army.

Chander said there was a scope for exporting 500-1,000 “cost competitive” indigenously developed LCA Tejas combat aircraft.

India depends on imports for meeting more than 65 per cent of its weapons requirement and has been branded as largest importer of arms by international think tanks.

So far, India has exported only assault rifles, a few helicopters along with some small naval vessels to friendly foreign countries.

India’s top fleet
Tejas is a lightweight, multi-role, single-engine tactical fighter aircraft.
Akash, a surface-to-air missile, has a range of 25 kms.
Prahar is a 150 km-range tactical missile system.
BrahMos is a supersonic cruise missile with a strike range of 290 kms.
So far, India has exported only assault rifles, a few helicopters along with some small naval vessels to friendly foreign countries.


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