India has made a significant and prioritised advancement in the field of defence procurement in the last few years. With the latest induction of the Rafale jets, the country has taken its air power to new heights. However, the Rafale is probably the only talked about inclusion in the recent past. India has witnessed many such important purchases that might have gone unnoticed. The top inductions which have taken place or are about to happen soon are:
Chinook: This helicopter is a multirole, vertical- lift platform, which is used to transport troops, artillery, equipment, and fuel. It is also used in humanitarian and disaster relief operations; in missions such as transportation of relief supplies and even mass evacuation of refugees in extreme conditions and difficult terrains. Its induction has given the much-needed push to the military forces that was missing for decades. Chinooks can airlift even the M-777 lightweight howitzers that the Indian Army has in its arsenal.
Apache AH-64E: India is one of the 17 nations to select the Apache and has the most advanced variant, the AH-64E Apache. It is designed and equipped with an open systems architecture including the latest communication, navigation, sensor and weapon systems. It has an improved ‘Modernised Target Acquisition Designation System’ that provides day-night and all-weather target information, as well as night vision navigation capability.
C-17 Globemaster III and C-130J Super Hercules: Induction of C-130J Super Hercules in 2011 and C-17 Globemaster III changed the entire dynamics of strategic lift capability of the Indian Air Force. This acquisition has given the force an ability to carry out large transport missions and be able to drop equipment and soldiers even at multiple advanced landing grounds. Powered with a 4-engine turboprop, C-130J can be effectively used for troop deployment, special operations, air-to-air refuel- ling, disaster relief, and humanitarian aid operations. C-17, on the other hand, provides tremendous flexibility in terms of operational response options in any future campaign. The long- range, heavy-lift capability will allow the commanders to induct troops, squadrons, re-locate forces as well as shift forces between theatres rapidly.
P8I (Poseidon Eight India): Induction of the Boeing P8I (Poseidon Eight India) long-range maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare capable aircraft in 2013, has been a huge jump in the deterrence and attack capability of the Indian Navy. Indian Navy became the first international customer of the P-8 aircraft with the conclusion of the nearly USD 2.1 billion contract on 1 January 2009 for a total of eight aircrafts. The P-8I aircraft is equipped for long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in support of the broad area, maritime and littoral operations. Its communication and sensor suite include indigenous equipment developed by defence PSUs and private manufacturers. With its high speed and high endurance of about 10 hours, the aircraft is capable of thrusting a punitive response and maintaining a watch over India’s immediate and extended areas of interest.
Apart from making important purchases, the country has also inked important deals which are expected to take shape and bear results in the coming months. Some of the important deals which India has signed with others and other developments which are worth mentioning are:
- Agreement with Turkey for fleet support vessels.
- Rs 880 crore defence deal with Israel on 19 March 2020.
- $40 million defence deal with Armenia beating Russia and Poland.
- Defence deal with Russia to cross $16 billion after De- fExpo 2020.
- US approval of foreign military sale to India of 13 MK45 5 inch/62 calibre (MOD 4) naval guns and related equipment for an estimated cost of $1.0210 billion.
- Rs 1,500 crore deal with Russia to acquire R-27 air- to-air missiles for equip- ping the Su-30MKI combat aircraft fleet of the Indian Air Force.
- US clearance for the sale of the state-of-the-art Guardian 22 unmanned Guardian drones to India.
- Deal for missile defence systems for desi ‘Air Force One’.
- Deal with the US for 24 MH-60 Sikorsky Romeo multi-role helicopters.
- India will have two to five theatre commands.
With such significant deals, India is sure to have the might to not just grow but also give a clear message to its envious neighbours. And with the newly announced ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, indigenous production in the defence sector is expected to slingshot to a new high.