India’s Defense Acquisition Council, led by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, has approved a budget of 42.76 billion rupees (about $522.17 million) to purchase weapons exclusively from domestic companies.
The approved projects include the Helina anti-tank guided missile system, very short-range air defense systems for the army, and the Brahmos missile launcher and fire control system for navy ships.
The systems will fall under the “Buy Indian IDDM” procurement category, which requires the procurement of arms from Indian vendors that are indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured, and contain at least 50% locally-made technology.
The Helina missile system, developed by the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is a third-generation fire-and-forget system with a range of 7 kilometers. It can engage targets via direct- or top-attack mode and can operate in all weather conditions during the day and night. The launcher for the system can withstand all weather conditions, and the missiles are used to defeat battle tanks with conventional and explosive reactive armor. The state-run firm Bharat Dynamics Ltd. produces the land-attack version of the missile, called Nag, through technology transfer from DRDO. Work on the weapons began about a decade ago, and they are expected to be delivered by 2026 and the cost for each missile is estimated to be 10 million rupees.
India also plans to purchase an unspecified number of very short-range air defense weapons which is Developed by DRDO, featuring infrared-homing missile systems that can shoot down aerial targets at a range of up to 7 kilometers. The system is specially designed for quick deployment in rugged terrain and maritime domain, in view of the recent developments along the Northern borders. However, the ministry stated that, it will take at least eight years for the Army to induct the VSHORAD system because the technology is not yet fully developed nor has it been proved operationally fit.
The budget will also fund the acquisition of locally built launcher systems and fire control systems for the ship-mounted Brahmos cruise missiles. These missiles are meant to equip Shivalik-class frigates and next-generation missile vessels. BrahMos missiles are capable of carrying a variety of warheads, including conventional and nuclear, and has a range of 290km, BrahMos cruise missile system has been jointly developed by India and Russia and is considered one of the most lethal cruise missiles in the world.