New locally developed military hardware for armed forces

In a move aimed at self-reliance in India’s defence manufacturing sector, defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday handed over to the armed forces locally developed military hardware.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh at the seminar on ‘Preparing for Future’ at DRDO Bhawan, in New Delhi, on Tuesday. (ANI)
Defence minister Rajnath Singh at the seminar on ‘Preparing for Future’ at DRDO Bhawan, in New Delhi, on Tuesday. (ANI)
Updated on Dec 15, 2021 01:13 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

In a move aimed at self-reliance in India’s defence manufacturing sector, defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday handed over to the armed forces locally developed military hardware including a smart air-launched weapon, anti-drone systems, and an advanced radar countermeasure system, officials familiar with the development said.

The weapons and systems were developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.

Singh also handed over transfer of technology (ToT) agreements covering six systems, including the coastal surveillance radar, to seven public and private sector companies to bolster their defence manufacturing capabilities at an event organised as part of the countrywide celebrations to mark the 75th year of India’s Independence.

This comes at a time when a time when the government is encouraging self-reliance is the defence sector through a slew of policy decisions.

The notable systems handed over to the armed forces include the smart anti-airfield weapon (SAAW), which can target enemy airfield assets such as radars, bunkers, taxiways and runways; and counter-drone systems to swiftly detect, intercept, and destroy small drones that pose a security threat.

SAAW has a range of 100km.

The anti-drone system will give the military both “soft kill” and “hard kill” options to tackle the new and fast-emerging aerial threat, the officials said. The first refers to jamming the hostile drone, while the second involves a laser-based kill system. The drone threat was highlighted by the June 27 attack targeting the Jammu air force station, the first-ever offensive use of drones to hit an Indian military facility.

The steps taken by the government to boost indigenisation include increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) from 49% to 74%, notifying two lists of 209 weapons and systems that cannot be imported and creating a separate budget for buying locally made military hardware.

Singh identified the development of a hypersonic cruise missile as a key focus area.

India took the first steps last year towards developing a new class of ultra-modern weapons that can travel six times faster than the speed of sound (Mach 6) and penetrate any missile defence, with DRDO carrying out a successful flight test of the hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle (HSTDV) for the first time.

Only the US, Russia and China have developed technologies to field fast-manoeuvring hypersonic missiles that fly at lower altitudes and are extremely hard to track and intercept. Mach 6 translates into a speed of 7,408kmph.

India could develop hypersonic cruise missiles powered by air-breathing scramjet engines in about four years, the officials said. Such engines operate efficiently at hypersonic speeds and allow supersonic combustion.

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