Defence Acquisition Council under the Ministry of Defence, on Thursday, granted acceptance of necessity (AoN) for the procurement of indigenously-made weapons worth ₹70,500 crore under Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured) category. This is the highest category for the procurement of defence weapons. The decision has been made under the chairmanship of Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh. 

Of this, the procurement of weapons by the Indian Navy accounts for ₹56,000 crore, which largely includes indigenous BrahMos missiles, Shakti Electronic Warfare (EW) systems, and Utility Helicopters-Maritime, amongst others.

According to the ministry, the additional procurement of the BrahMos missile system will enhance the country’s maritime strike capabilities & anti-surface warfare operation, the addition of Utility Helicopters will multiply the operational readiness of the Indian navy in the domain of search and rescue operations, casualty evacuation, and humanitarian assistance disaster relief (HADR), amongst others. The procurement of EW systems will equip and modernise the frontline naval ships to counter any Naval Operations by the adversaries. 

The ministry has also granted acceptance of necessity for the first time, to locally develop medium-speed marine diesel engines under Make I category. In order to keep pace with the emerging technologies and counter the adversaries in the western and northern front, the ministry has accorded the approval for Long Range Stand-Off Weapon (LRSOW) to the Indian navy that will be indigenously designed, developed and integrated on SU-30 MKI aircraft.

For the Indian army, the ministry has approved the procurement of 155mm/52 Caliber Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) along with High Mobility Vehicles (HMVs) and Gun Towing Vehicles (GTVs) in a bid to modernize artillery.

For Indian coast guard, the ministry accorded the approval to procure advanced light helicopters (ALH) MK-III from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

"The Helicopter will be able to carry a suite of surveillance sensors which will enhance the surveillance capabilities. It will also give full night capability and Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) capability for operations of the Indian Coast Guard," the ministry says.

According to the ministry, with the latest proposal, the total approval of necessity for capital acquisition in FY2022-23 is more than ₹2.71 lakh crore, “out of which 99% of the procurement will be sourced from Indian industries.” 

Last month, Singh said that 75% of the defence outlay or around ₹1 lakh crore will be spent on procurement from domestic defence manufacturers beginning FY2023-24 and that the decision will strengthen the defence sector and minimise import dependency. In the union budget for FY2023-24, the government allocated ₹5.94 lakh crore for the Ministry of Defence, which is 13.18% of the country’s total outlay of ₹45.03 lakh crore.

The budget has a nominal capital outlay increase of 7% as compared to last year’s increase of 13% and an increase of approximately 19% in the FY22 budget. In the total defence capital expenditure, the army got a share of 23% with ₹37,242 crore, the navy (₹52,805 crore) with a share of 32% and airforce got a share of 35% (₹57,137 crore). Others (research & development, inspection, technology development, etc got a 10% allocation in defence capex, ₹15,417 crore.

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