Locally made drones, howitzers on display at Indo-Pacific armies meet
India’s defence sector is characterised by a firm export push and an unprecedented cutback on imports under a multipronged self-reliance drive
Indian vendors on Tuesday put up a display of an array of locally produced weapons and systems before 30 countries, with a variety of drones, artillery guns, unmanned ground vehicles, surveillance gear and armoured personnel carriers highlighting advances in the domestic defence manufacturing sector.
The drones showcased on the margins of the 13th Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference included loitering munitions, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, multi- payload drones and nano UAVs.
The ALS-50 loitering munition, built by Tata Advanced Systems, has been delivered to the Indian Air Force. Each ALS-50 can carry six high explosive pre-fragmented warheads, and 100 units have been delivered, with more on order, officials aware of the matter said, seeking anonymity.
Two types of nano UAVs, Doot and Parush built by Greater Noida-based IDR Research and Development have been bought by the army for its counterterrorism units deployed in Jammu and Kashmir. The palm-sized Doot weighs 350 grams.
Kalyani Group’s Bharat 150 multi-mission drones and ideaForge’s Switch UAVs for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance were also on display.
The other military hardware showcased included Kalyani Strategic Systems’ MaRG 155mm/39 calibre artillery guns with shoot and scoot capability, the Bharat 155mm/52 calibre ultra light howitzers, the Garuda 105mm/37 calibre guns, long range observation systems, and wheeled and tracked unmanned ground vehicles.
“The hardware displayed holds export potential and some Indo-Pacific armies may be interested,” said one of the officials.
India’s defence sector is characterised by a firm export push and an unprecedented cutback on imports under a multipronged self-reliance drive.
India is currently exporting military hardware to more than 85 countries, with around 100 domestic firms involved. Its exports include missiles, artillery guns, rockets, armoured vehicles, offshore patrol vessels, personal protective gear, a variety of radars, surveillance systems and ammunition.
India has set a defence export target of ₹35,000 crore by 2024-25, which experts believe is within the country’s reach.
India’s military exports have risen sharply, and imports have recorded a drop on the back of policy initiatives and reforms. Exports grew 23 times between 2013-14 and 2022-23 from ₹686 crore to ₹16,000 crore, while spending on imported weapons and systems dropped from 46% of the total expenditure in 2018-19 to 36.7% in December 2022.