The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed contracts for the procurement of an improved Akash Weapon System and 12 Weapon Locating Radars, WLR Swathi (Plains) for the Indian Army at an overall cost of over Rs 9,100 crores. Contracts were signed with Bharat Dynamics and BEL.
In a tweet the MoD said, “Aatmanirbhar Bharat: MoD inks over ₹9,100 crore contracts for improved Akash Weapon System & 12 Weapon Locating Radars Swathi (Plains) for Indian Army.”
In reply to the tweet by RMO India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said; “A welcome development, which will boost self-reliance and particularly help the MSME sector.”
Prime Minister also lauded the signing of ₹19,600 crore contracts with Indian shipyards for acquisition of 11 Next Generation Offshore Patrol Vessels and six Next Generation Missile Vessels for the Indian Navy.
In another tweet Modi said, this will strengthen the Indian Navy and add momentum to the country’s aim of Aatmanirbharta.
The contract for procurement of improved Akash Weapon System (AWS) for the 3rd and 4th Regiments of Army Air Defence, comprising live Missiles and Launchers with upgrades, Ground Support Equipment, Vehicles and Infrastructure was signed with Bharat Dynamics Limited, worth over Rs 8,160 crore.
The project has overall indigenous content of 82 percent which will be increased to 93 percent by 2026-2027 and expected to boost the Indian missile manufacturing industry in particular and the indigenous defence manufacturing ecosystem as a whole.
The AWS is a Short Range Surface Air Missile (SRSAM) Air Defence System, indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the improved variant includes Seeker Technology, Reduced Foot Print and 360 degree engagement capability.
The induction of the improved AWS into the Indian Army will increase India’s self-reliance in Short Range Missile capability. Around 60 percent of the project cost will be awarded to the private industry, including MSMEs, in maintaining the supply chain of the weapon system, thereby creating large-scale of direct and indirect employment.
Two additional Regiments of AWS with Upgradation are being procured for Indian Army for the Northern borders to meet aerial threats.
The project will give a boost to the Indian missile manufacturing industry in particular and the indigenous defence manufacturing ecosystem as a whole, MoD said.
The project has overall indigenous content of 82 per cent which will be increased to 93 per cent by 2026-27, the MoD said while adding that this project will play a role in boosting the overall economy by avoiding the outgo of precious foreign exchange to other countries, increasing employment avenues in India and encouraging Indian MSMEs through components manufacturing.
The contract for WLR Swathi (Plains) was signed with Bharat Electronic Limited (BEL) at a cost of over 990 crore rupees. It is an indigenously designed WLR which is capable of locating guns, mortars and rockets firing own troops, thereby facilitating their destruction through Counter Bombardment by own firepower resources.
This will enable troops to carry out their operational tasks without any interference from the enemy and also provide them safety against enemy fire. Induction is planned to be completed in 24 months.
The project is a big opportunity for the defence industry to showcase its capability and will be a step in the direction of achieving the goal of Aatmanirbharta in defence, the MoD said.
The writer is a Delhi-based freelance journalist, who has reported and written on a wide range of subjects in an extensive career.