India’s Defence Acquisition Council on Tuesday approved the purchase of more than 745,000 small arms along with torpedo decoy systems, in procurements valued at approximately Rs 15,935 crore (159 billion rupees, almost $2.5 billion), the Ministry of Defence said in a press release.
The DAC meeting chaired by Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman “accorded approval for procurement of 7.4 lakh [740,000] assault rifles for the three services,” at an estimated cost of 12,280 crore rupees (122.8 billion rupees, $1.92 billion), the release said.
These rifles will be ‘Made in India’ by both the government-owned Ordnance Factory Board and private industry and will be categorised as ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’.
The DAC also agreed the procurement of an “essential quantity of Light Machine Guns for the three Services through the Fast Track Procedure” to “meet the operational requirement of the troops deployed on the borders” at an estimated cost of more than 1,819 crore rupees (18.2 billion rupees, $284.5 million).
A ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ proposal is being processed that will fix the quantity, the release said.
The DAC also approved the procurement of 5,719 sniper rifles for the army and air force at an estimated cost of982 crore rupees (9.82 billion rupees, $153.6 million). These weapons will be not be made in India, but the ammunition will.
Although the number of light machine guns to be procured is unknown, Tuesday’s announcement apparently brings the total number of small arms to be procured to more than 912,000. Less than a month ago, on January 16, the DAC cleared the purchase of 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines for troops on its disputed high-altitude borders at an estimated cost of 3,547 crore rupees (35 billion rupees, $553 million).
Torpedo decoy systems
The DAC approved the procurement of Mareech advanced torpedo decoy systems for the Indian Navy to “enhance the anti-submarine warfare capabilities of Indian Naval Ships” at an estimated cost of 850 crore rupees (8.5 billion rupees, $133 million).
The Mareech torpedo detection and countermeasure system, developed indigenously by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, has “successfully completed extensive trial evaluations” and will be produced by Bharat Electronics in Bengaluru.
The system uses towed and expendable decoys.