The Indian Army will be replacing its vintage
anti-aircraft guns, decided the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) - headed
by the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar — that met late this evening. The
committee has cleared purchase of defence equipment worth Rs. 30,000 crore,
The new guns will have to be bought from Indian
companies. But no Indian firm has yet demonstrated the capacity to
manufacture these weapons. The army is likely to get 428 guns and it is
likely to cost the exchequer Rs. 16,900 crore.
Currently, the Indian army uses L-70 and Zu- 23 mm guns
of 1950s vintage, acquired from Swedish manufacturer Bofors and from the
erstwhile Soviet Union’s Podolsky Electromechanical Plant.
In 2013, then UPA Government had issued global tenders
for anti-aircraft guns and invited Israeli, British, French, Russian and
Polish firms to compete. None, however, responded as they did not find the
proposal lucrative enough and the tender was later cancelled.
Besides, the DAC has allowed the Indian Navy to buy four
more P8i maritime surveillance aircraft from the US.
The Indian Navy has eight such long-range maritime
surveillance and anti-submarine aircraft made by Boeing. The purchase of
four more is likely to cost the exchequer Rs. 4,380 crore.