The Defence Ministry on Thursday signed contracts for procuring improved Akash Weapon System and 12 Weapon Locating Radars WLR Swathi (Plains) for the Indian Army at an overall cost of over Rs 9,100 crore in another boost for Make in India initiative.
A Defence Ministry release said the contract for procurement of improved Akash Weapon System (AWS) for third and fourth regiments of Army Air Defence, comprising live missiles and launchers with upgrades, ground support equipment, vehicles and infrastructure was signed with Bharat Dynamics Limited for over Rs 8,160 crore.
The AWS is a Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM) Air Defence System, indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation. In order to meet aerial threats, two additional regiments of AWS with upgradation are being procured for Indian Army for the Northern borders.
Improved AWS has Seeker technology, reduced footprint, 360 engagement capability and improved environmental parameters.
The project will give a boost to the Indian missile manufacturing industry in particular and the indigenous defence manufacturing ecosystem as a whole. The project has overall indigenous content of 82 per cent which will be increased to 93 per cent by 2026-27, the release said.
"The induction of the improved AWS into the Indian Army will increase India's self-reliance in Short Range Missile capability. This project will play a role in boosting the overall economy by avoiding outgo of precious foreign exchange to other countries, increasing employment avenues in India and encouraging Indian MSMEs through components manufacturing," it said.
The ministry said that around 60 per cent of the project cost will be awarded to the private industry, including MSMEs, in maintaining the supply chain of the weapon system, creating large scale of direct and indirect employment.
The contract for WLR Swathi (Plains) was signed with Bharat Electronic Limited (BEL) at a cost of over Rs 990 crore.
"It is an indigenously designed WLR which is capable of locating guns, mortars and rockets firing own troops, thereby facilitating their destruction through counter bombardment by own firepower resources. This will enable troops to carry out their operational tasks without any interference from the enemy and also provide them safety against enemy fire," the release said. Induction is planned to be completed in 24 months.
This project is a big opportunity for the defence industry to showcase its capability and will be a step in the direction of achieving the goal of 'Aatmanirbharta' in defence, the release said. (ANI)