March 24, 2023

army: Army cranking up modernisation drive | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The 13-lakh Army is now cranking up its focus on longer-range weapons and night-fighting capabilities, multi-capacity drones, ‘disruptive technologies’ and early-detection and targeting systems in its ongoing modernisation drive amid the 20-month-long military confrontation with China in eastern Ladakh.
The Army currently has 93 modernisation projects in progress at various stages in the procurement process, with a total value of Rs 1.37 lakh crore ($18.4 billion), as per the latest figures.
With the overall thrust also being on indigenisation, Army chief General M M Naravane recently said 19 of the 20 new “acceptance of necessities (AoNs)” approved for the Army by the defence ministry in the current financial year are in the “Buy Indian” category.
The Army has inked 121 capital procurement contracts worth Rs 93,463 crore over the last three-four years. The stand-off with China, of course, propelled the entire modernisation process on an upward trajectory.
Under emergency powers, for instance, 71 capital procurement contracts (worth Rs 6,918 crore) and 113 revenue procurement deals (Rs 9,000 crore) have been inked since June 2020, said sources. “The aim was to make up for operational deficiencies, even as the re-balancing of additional forces to the northern borders and infrastructure upgrade was fast-tracked to counter the China threat,” said a source.
The plans under way include a major induction of high-volume firepower, with a mix of artillery guns, enhanced Pinaka rocket regiments, longer-range BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles as well as loiter munition systems, runway-independent remotely piloted aircraft systems, and enhanced surveillance and weapon-locating capabilities, said sources.
Towards this end, the Army plans to order another 200 K-9 ‘Vajra’ self-propelled tracked artillery guns after inducting 100 of them under a Rs 4,366 joint project of L&T and South Korean Hanwha Defence. With a strike range of 28-38 km, the Army has deployed some of these 155mm/52-calibre guns in Ladakh, as was reported by TOI earlier.
Around 110 of the 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers ordered from the US for over Rs 5,000 crore have already been inducted, with the rest to follow over the next five months. The Army has also equipped two regiments with the ‘Sharang’ artillery systems, which is the upgraded version of the old Soviet-origin 130mm guns, with a third on the way.
Progress, however, is slow in trials of the indigenous 155mm/52 caliber advanced towed artillery gun systems, which the DRDO contends is the best in its class in the world with a 48-km strike range.

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