Indian Defense Procurement Moves Forward Despite Delays With Some Contracts

  • Bindiya Thomas
  • 10:26 AM, January 8, 2014
  • 3236
Indian Defense Procurement Moves Forward Despite Delays With Some Contracts
Defense Minister AK Antony as he climbs into the cockpit of a Light Combat Aircraft

With the cancellation of the AgustaWestland  VVIP helicopter deal and delays in acquiring the medium multi role combat aircraft (MMRCA) from Dassault, the Indian defense establishment is reeling under concerns that important projects maybe be further delayed.


However, despite delays, India has reached major milestones with the indigenous supersonic fighter aircraft LCA-Tejas achieving its Initial Operation Clearance and the army taking delivery of its first indigenous helicopter, the Rudra ALH from HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd) in 2013.


According to research report on Indian procurement, the Indian air force leads with $31.3 billion in procurements in the past five years, followed by the navy with $7.5 billion and the Army with $4.2 billion.


The air force’s successful procurement list includes C-17 Globemaster III, P-8I long-range maritime surveillance aircraft, Boeing Chinook helicopters, Russian Mi-17 V5 helicopters and Israeli drones.


In contrast, the army leads with the most number of indigenous procurements while the airforce has the least. Among its top foreign weapons suppliers are Israel and the US after state-owned enterprises like the DRDO and BEL.


The Indian Army is currently in the midst of procuring Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile and Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile) from the DRDO.


The project which is in development in collaboration with the Israeli Aerospace Industry and BEL spearheaded by the DRDO has been met with delays.


India is also going ahead with its plans to procure eight regiments of Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missiles (QRSAMs) to replace the Russian Kvadrat systems.


Among the other big ticket items are the howitzer procurement.  In 2012, BAE Systems won a $885 million contract to supply 145 state-of-the-art 155mm towed Howitzers two decades after the Bofors scandal made headlines. Meanwhile, L&T and Rosoboronexport are now in direct competition to supply 100 self-propelled howitzers in a contract worth $300 million.


The Indian Navy, after much delay, has finally taken delivery of the INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier this year.  This was one of the most complex procurement programs undertaken by the Indian MOD and the Navy with  the cost of the retrofitting program far exceeding the cost of carrier.


As part of the Navy’s plan to overhaul existing submarines, Atlas Elektronik is set to receive a submarine upgrade contract in the future. The upgrade will consist of heavyweight torpedoes, the most reliable weapons that can hit surface and underwater targets (SUT), for the four HDW Type 209 Shishumar class submarines..


The Navy is currently exploring possibilities of boosting its capabilities after a deadly fire destroyed and sunk the INS Sindhurakshak, a Russian Kilo class submarine off the Mumbai coast in 2013.


Atlas Elektronik is also confident of bagging the contract for the Active Towed Away Sonars (ACTAS) which would be mounted on six Indian Navy warships.


Leading the air force’s long list of contract winners is the United States which took home over $12 billion in contracts over the past three years. However, France leads with the most number of naval contracts, followed by Russia and South Korea. Russia has benefitted from the tank and armoured vehicle modernization programs.


Contact [email protected] to read the full report.


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