Even as the army evaluates the missile systems of global vendors for a deal expected to be worth over Rs 12,000 crore, the defence ministry is moving towards indigenous development of similar very short-range air defence systems to promote Make in India.
A discussion took place at a high-level meeting in the defence ministry by top government and military officials where it was proposed that the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) should go ahead to develop the Very Short Range Air Defence System (VSHORAD) in the country itself, defence sources told Mail Today.
The development is taking place at a time when foreign vendors from three countries – Russia, France and Sweden – have fielded their systems for procurement by the Army to replace their vintage IGLA shoulder-fired air defence systems.
The plan to develop the missile system which can strike targets at ranges of six to seven kms indigenously is being considered as the NDA government has come up with a missile policy which states that the country should become self-reliant in fields of missile by the year 2022, the sources said.
In recent times, the NDA government has moved very fast in favour of indigenous missile systems over the ones to be procured from foreign vendors as it decided to go in for home grown Akash air defence missiles over the ones developed by foreign vendors which were being tried by the army.
The government is also thinking of doing away with the plans to build a single-engine fighter aircraft programme in favour of the light combat aircraft Tejas which is still in the evolution stage in terms of technology and capabilities.
The ongoing global tender for the VSHORADS is also moving very slowly as after over five years in trials and re-trials, the defence ministry has reached the general staff evaluation stage and formed a technical oversight committee to look into the procedures followed by the tender procedure.
Under VSHORAD tender, Indian Army and Indian Navy plan to procure 5,175 missiles and 1,276 single and multi-launchers worth over Rs 15,000 crore with the transfer of technology to Indian defence sector partner for local manufacturing in the country.
Sources in the army said even though every contender has been given opportunity to make themselves compliant with the requirements of the tender as some of them were non-compliant in some fields.
The army has been giving chances to the vendors as it does not want to come to a single vendor situation as the defence ministry is strictly against single-vendor cases as they create a monopoly situation.
By: India Today
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