NEW DELHI: Top acquisition body of the ministry of defence on Saturday approved army’s modernization projects of worth over Rs. 2800 crore.
Defence Acquisition Council(DAC) headed by the Defence Minister Arun Jaitley cleared projects including equipping armoured fighting vehicles(BMP) used by infantry with night fighting capabilities and Ordnance Factory, Medak will undertake the deal worth over Rs 2,400 crore. The same factory will also manufacture command and control posts for directing artillery fire and the cost is Rs 406 crores.
According to defence ministry official, the two projects falling under the category of Buy India category that the Medak factory in Telangana will provide upgrade which will render the armour fighting vehicles (BMP) achieve better night fighting capabilities and achieve better accuracy. The cost of the project is Rs 2,400 crore. These vehicles ferry infantry troops into the battlefield and protect them from enemy fire. At present, the Army has more than 2,750 BMPs made in collaboration with Russia. The armoured carriers fitted with medium machine guns can accommodate at least 11 soldiers including three crew members.
DAC also gave its nod to the carrier command posts on tracked vehicles for technical control of artillery fire. The Medak factory will manufacture the command posts equipped with latest communication systems and computers to enable the commander to effectively direct fire at targets. The posts will also have unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to assist the commander to gather precise information about the battlefield scenario in real time, sources said.
These command posts will give a boost to the Army’s artillery modernization plan. It aims to procure 2,800 to 3,000 artillery guns including 814 truck mounted guns, 1,580 towed guns, 100 tracked self-propelled gun, 180 wheeled self-propelled guns and 145 ultra-light howitzers.
In fact, the Army acquired the first lot of howitzers in May this year after a gap of more than 31 years when artillery modernization plan came to a standstill in the wake of Bofors gun controversy. The first two pieces of M-777 howitzers manufactured in the US arrived in India in May and are now undergoing field trials in Rajasthan. The contract for the howitzers is over 737 million dollars.