India clears defence purchases worth over Rs.29,000 crore

New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) India on Tuesday cleared defence purchases worth over Rs.29,000 crore ($4.5 billion) at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC).

The DAC, chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, approved a deviation in offset clause for acquiring four Boeing P8I maritime surveillance aircraft.

The proposal is worth Rs.4,380 crore, and comes as seven of eight of these surveillance aircraft have been inducted in the Indian Navy.

The original eight-aircraft deal was signed in 2009.

The navy in November last year decided to go in for the option clause in the contract under which it can order four more.

Also approved was a Rs.16,900 crore proposal for replacing the 1960s vintage L70 and ZU 23 anti-aircraft guns.

Official sources said 428 guns will be acquired under the ‘buy and make in India’ clause of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP).

Other proposals cleared include upgradation of the weapons and sensor systems of six ships of the Delhi and Talwar class for Rs.2,900 crore.

The update will be in the air defence missile, and surface to air missile systems and associated radars, and will be done as these ships go mid-life upgradation.

In the Delhi class ships, a Gigabit Ethernet Ships Data network will replace optical fibres that are used to control weapon systems. All critical weapon data would be stored in this system, which will be fitted in the ships at a cost of Rs.260 crore.

A Brahmos training facility will be established at INS Valsura, a naval station in Gujarat, for Rs.30 crore for providing training to the naval engineers.

The DAC also approved a proposal for placing air combat manoeuvring systems in the Indian Navy’s MiG-29Ks and Hawk AJT aircraft at a cost of Rs.200 crore. This will help in keeping track of the location of the aircraft while it is flying.

The army will also get 14,000 units of Multi Spectrum Camouflage Net at the cost of Rs.310 crore, a Bi-Modular Charge System for 155 mm artillery guns for 3.5 lakh modules, and an upgraded system for electronic warfare, which will be replaced in one of the corps at a cost of Rs.265 crore by BEL.

Microlight aircraft for the National Cadet Corps were also approved.

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