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India to spend $1 billion on military infrared imaging equipment

India’s Defence Acquisition Council approved over $1 billion for thermal imaging sights for rocket launchers and the development and purchase of search-and-track systems for aircraft, a Ministry of Defence release said.

The DAC on Sunday, May 28 approved spending 6,900 crore (69 billion) rupees on the design, development and purchase of at least 100 new long-range dual-band infrared search and track systems for Indian Air Force Su-30 MKI fighters, and the purchase of thermal imaging night sights for Indian Army rocket launchers.

All purchases were made under the DAC’s ‘Buy Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured’ category, which requires equipment to be purchased from Indian vendors and have at least 40 percent locally sourced material. The Buy IDDM category was announced in 2016 as a drive to boost India’s indigenous defense industry.

“With the above approvals, in the last eight months alone, the DAC has pursued modernization of the Armed Forces with greater vigour and has accorded major thrust on indigenization,” the MoD release said.

India is still involved in a costly counter-insurgency campaign in the region of Kashmir, which is disputed between it and Pakistan. Kashmir has been the site of numerous stand-offs between India’s armed forces and various militias.

The DAC’s acquisition of thermal-imaging night sights for the Indian Army’s rocket launcher notes its ability to “facilitate accurate and continuous engagement of moving and static enemy targets and destruction of field fortifications during hours of complete darkness.”

India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited produces Su-30 MKI fighters on a license purchased from Russia, but has strived to indigenize production further. HAL has pitched cut-price Su-30s, meant to carry the indigenously-developed BrahMos cruise missile, as part of the Ministry of Defence’s massive Request for Information for 111 new aircraft, due to end in July.

Combined with previous acquisitions approved in the past eight months, over $4.75 billion was spent on purchases within the ‘Make in India’ initiative for the Indian Armed Forces.

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