A government committee led by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday approved procuring indigenous defence equipment worth Rs 9,100 crores.(PTI file photo)
A government committee led by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday approved procuring indigenous defence equipment worth Rs 9,100 crores.(PTI file photo)

Panel okays procurement of Akash missiles, defence equipment worth Rs 9,100 crore

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved procuring an upgraded version of the Akash missile and safety gear for tank crews “negotiating water obstacles while deep fording”.
By HT Correspondent | New Delhi
UPDATED ON SEP 18, 2018 10:06 PM IST

The defence ministry on Tuesday green-lighted the purchase of military hardware worth Rs 9,100 crore, including two regiments of the locally-produced Akash missile systems, a ministry spokesperson said.

The purchases were cleared by an acquisition council headed by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman. One regiment equals six launchers, each holding three surface-to-air missiles.

The missile to be ordered is an “upgraded version” of the previously inducted Akash missiles.

“It will include seeker technology, possess 360-degree coverage and will be of compact configuration with reduced signature,” the spokesperson said, adding that the upgraded weapon would provide protection to vital assets.

State-owned Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) manufactures the 25-km range Akash missile systems, a weapon India also seeks to export.

In July 2017, the Comptroller and Auditor General flagged concerns about the reliability of the Akash missile inducted by the Indian Air Force, revealing that a third of the missiles tested failed. The auditor said preliminary analysis revealed that the missiles fell short of the target, were low on velocity and critical components malfunctioned.

The defence acquisition council also gave its go-ahead for the design and development the individual under water breathing apparatus (IUWBA) for Russian-origin T-90 Tanks.

Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the IUWBA is used by tank crews for emergency escape during deep fording. The spokesperson said the DAC also approved the design and development of “test equipment for guided weapons system of T-90 tank” by DRDO.

“It will give an indigenous solution to the test equipment… earlier procured from foreign original equipment manufacturers,” a ministry release added.

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