NEW DELHI: The armed forces have virtually given their approval to the proposed advanced versions of the Texas fighter plane and Arjun’s main battle tank by forcefully launching the mega acquisitions of foreign single-engine fighter jets and futuristic armored vehicles. through the ‘Make in India the route under the policy of’ strategic partnership (SP) ‘.
The Army last week issued the preliminary tender or request for information (RFI) to the global arms giants for a futuristic first deposit of 1,770 called future ready combat vehicles (FRCV) aimed at “rapid dominance in an expanded battle space” , while the IAF preparing to do the same with 114 single-engine fighters soon.
This comes in the backdrop of the defense ministry that ends SP’s policy in May to boost the country’s budding defense production sector, which envisions Indian private sector companies that produce state-of-the-art weapons systems in collaboration with older global weapons through joint ventures and technology transfers. previously reported by TOI.
However, the march will not be easy for the IAF and the Army. On the one hand, annual defense budgets now have very little money for new projects, and most of the capital outlay is used for “committed liabilities” or previously signed business quotas. The single-engine IAF project, which will be a direct air combat between the Gripen-E (Sweden) and the F-16 (USA) jets, for example, will cost an estimate of 1 rupees per se, 15 lakh crore.
On the other hand, the lobby of the PSU of the DRDO defense is resisting, which leads the government to question the need for the single-engine project. “There have also been doubts about whether such an important project should be given to the private sector, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), in turn, says it can offer a much better single-engine roof tile,” said one source.
DRDO maintains that the forces continue to coldly support indigenous platforms in their appetite to acquire foreigners. Instead of ordering, say, around 500 Arjun tanks, which would have stabilized the production lines, achieved economies of scale and paved the way for the development of a futuristic MBT, the Army has installed only 124 Arjun Mark-1 tanks so far. .
The Army is not willing to order 118 Arjun Mark-II tanks, which will cost more than 6,600 crore rupees, until they eliminate the field tests. “The FRCV project, if it takes off, will kill the indigenous FMBT project,” said one scientist.