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Indian Army Go-ahead For Industry-funded Development Of Loitering Munitions, Drone Kill Systems
Five programmes approved under the Make-II category of the Defence Acquisition Procedure; competitive prototype development to be followed by assured orders
Photo Credit : IAI
Representational image of a loitering munition
The Indian Army on November 4 announced approval of five Industry-funded prototype development programmes under the Make-II category of the Defence Acquisition Procedure.
These programmes include development of medium-range loitering munitions, terminally-guided munitions for 155 mm artillery for precision strike capability, hard-kill anti-drone systems and hi-frequency Man Packed Software Defined Radios.
The Make-II category is part of efforts to boost the Aatmanirbhar Bharat agenda for defence production. This category involves prototype development of Military equipment by Industry at its own cost. An assurance of orders is given after successful prototype development.
Project Sanction Orders have been issued by the Indian Army for the following development programmes:
Medium-Range Precision Kill System (MRPKS). The go-ahead has been given to 15 Developing Agencies for developing a prototype of a loitering munition. The Army will buy 10 sets of these munitions after the successful development of the prototype. The tasking for Industry is to develop a system which can loiter in the air for up to two hours and can acquire, designate and engage real time high-value targets at ranges of up to 40 km. “In times to come, we see our country transforming as “AtmaNirbhaar” in Loitering Munition Technology,” the Ministry of Defence declared in a statement.
Terminally Guided Munitions (TGM). Approval has been given to six Developing Agencies for development of 155 mm Terminally Guided Munition (TGM). “Variants of ammunition were held in the inventory of the Indian Army, sans the precision strike capability. The Indian Army, therefore, plans to procure approximately 2000 rounds of 155mm TGM against High-Value Targets with assured Precision and Lethality for mission accomplishment and minimum collateral damage,” it was announced.
Drone Kill System. Eighteen Developing Agencies have been given the go-ahead to develop a hard kill anti-drone system against low Radio Cross Section (RCS) Drone/ unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to function in all types of terrains, both during day and night. This programme has been reserved for MSMEs/Start-ups. The Army will procure of 35 sets of these Drone Kill Systems after successful development of prototype.
High-Frequency Man Packed Software Defined Radio (HFSDR). Project Sanction Order has been issued to 14 Developing Agencies for development of prototype of High-Frequency Man Packed Software Defined Radio (HFSDR). “300 HFSDRs are planned to be procured by the Indian Army, on successful development of the prototype. State-of-the-art, light weight HFSDR will provide long distance radio communication through enhanced data capability and band width coupled with enhanced security. It will facilitate blue force tracking with map-based navigation using GIS, thereby increasing real time situational awareness. These radio sets will replace the existing HF radio sets in the inventory, which have limited data handling capability and obsolete technology,” the Ministry of Defence statement elaborated.
Infantry Weapons Training Simulator (IWTS). Four Developing Agencies has received the go-ahead for prototype development of an Infantry weapons training simulator. The Army intends purchasing 125 sets. “The IWTS is the first tri-service Make II project with the Indian Army as the lead service. The project is reserved for MSMEs/ Start-ups. IWTS will be utilised to augment marksmanship skills of young soldiers on variety of weapons used by the armed forces, providing user friendly graphics to simulate battle scenarios. IWTS is a modern training aid, which will reduce recurrent expenditures on live ammunition, besides obviating the challenges of availability of firing ranges and inclement weather. Each IWTS will facilitate training of 10 personnel at any one point of time,” the statement elaborated.
The Indian Army is already pursuing 43 ongoing projects under the Make-II procedure of Capital Acquisition. “Seventeen of these 43 projects have been initiated through suo-moto proposals received from the industry, which has generated enthusiasm and confidence in the Indian defence industry for participation in the Make procedure,” the Ministry of Defence stated.
The Make-II category is an import substitution effort for high-end technology systems involving design, development and production by Indian companies. “Multiple measures to expedite the ongoing Make-II projects have resulted in tangible outcomes. 22 out of 43 Make-II projects are now in prototype development stage, which is 66 per cent of projects by cost (Rs 18,000 Crore out of 27,000 Crore),” the Ministry of Defence stated.