Advanced Electronic Warfare systems will significantly enhance the battle-survivability of IAF multi-purpose helicopters (Image courtesy: Indian Air Force)
In a major boost to the government’s efforts to achieve ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in advanced defence technologies, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) on Thursday gave its nod to capital acquisition proposals worth approximately Rs 7800 crore that also includes procurement and installation of Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite on Mi-17 V5 Helicopter fleet of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
To be procured from Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) under Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured) category, the advanced EW systems will significantly enhance the battle-survivability of the multi-purpose helicopters while undertaking operational missions against adversaries’ ground-based as well as airborne fire control and surveillance radars.
The development follows last year’s contract between the BEL and Defence Ministry for supply of Advanced Electronic Warfare Suite for IAF fighter aircraft estimated to be around Rs 1993 crore.
The EW suite project essentially embodies the spirit of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and has been indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Similar Advanced Electronic Warfare (EW) System ‘Shakti’ designed and developed by Defence Electronics Research Laboratory (DLRL) – the Hyderabad-based laboratory of DRDO – have been installed on Indian warships for the interception, detection, classification, identification and jamming of conventional and modern radars.
— DRDO (@DRDO_India) November 20, 2021
It provides an electronic layer of defence against modern radars and anti-ship missiles to ensure electronic dominance and survivability in the maritime battlefield.
The DAC meeting held under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for weapons procurement for Indian Navy’s MH-60R helicopters.
Manufactured by US global security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin, the MH-60R is an all-weather helicopter designed to support multiple missions with state-of-the-art avionics/sensors.
As many as 24 of these helicopters are being procured by India under Foreign Military Sales from the US Government and are modified with several India Unique Equipment and weapons.
The delivery of all 24 MH 60R helicopters will be completed by 2025, significantly boosting the integral Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capability of the Indian Navy.
A significant milestone for the #IndianNavy – MH60R helicopter undertakes maiden landings on the indigenously designed & constructed destroyer, #INSKolkata. This is a major boost to the Indian Navy’s Anti-Submarine Warfare capability.@SpokespersonMoD@DefenceMinIndia pic.twitter.com/cJQaFrEHnJ
— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) May 19, 2023
Thursday’s meeting also gave government’s go-ahead for procurement of Ground-Based Autonomous System for mechanised infantry and armoured regiments which will enable various operations like unmanned surveillance, logistic delivery of ammunition, fuel and spares and casualty evacuation in the battlefield.
The Defence Ministry stated that proposals for procurement of 7.62×51 mm Light Machine Gun (LMG) and Bridge Laying Tank (BLT) have also been cleared by the DAC.
While the induction of LMG will enhance fighting capabilities of infantry forces, the induction of BLT will result in faster movement of mechanised forces.
The AoN for procurement of ruggedised laptops and tablets for the Indian Army under ‘Project Shakti’ has been accorded too from indigenous vendors only.