A Defence Ministry panel cleared over a dozen proposals worth more than `10,000 crore in a marathon meeting on Monday, all in a bid to shore up India’s defence capabilities.
However, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by the Defence Minister, A K Antony and junior minister Jitendra Singh deferred a decision on taking forward four key procurement proposals and these included an urgent Army requirement of 145 Ultra Light Howitzers required for deployment in the mountainous terrains bordering China, officials said here.
The other proposals deferred included tweaking of tender provisions for 16 Navy Multi-role Helicopters, to allow public sector undertakings in an all-private sector project for 56 planes to replace the ageing Avro transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and changes in tender provisions for construction of four landing pontoon docks for the Navy at an Indian shipyard.
Among the proposals cleared by the DAC, along with all service chiefs and ministry’s secretaries as members, was the `1,125-crore Phase-2 of modernisation of airfields infrastructure that is being executed by the Indian private sector Tata SED, officials said.
In Phase-1, 30-odd airfields would be modernised, which will also aid civil aviation operations wherever commercial flights operate from.In Phase-2, 37 more airfields of the IAF would be upgraded to carry out operations of all types of aircraft, in all-weather and day-and-night conditions.
Upgrading of five key ordnance depots near the northern and eastern borders of the country at a cost of `1,800 crore under a modernisation project for strengthening ammunition and explosives storage of the armed forces was also approved.
The Army units deployed at the borders would soon be receiving supplies of 4,000 pieces of handheld thermal imagers from public sector Bharat Electronics Limited at a cost of `1,400, which also got approved at the DAC meeting.
Officials said the Army’s Russian-origin T-72 and T-90 tanks numbering 2,000 and 1,800 respectively and another 1,200 infantry combat vehicles or BMPs would get new Thermal Imaging Sights and the cost of each purchase would be approximately `1,000 crore, `860 crore and `964 crore, respectively.