None of the major ‘Make in India’ projects in the defence arena, ranging from new-generation stealth submarines, minesweepers and light utility helicopters to infantry combat vehicles, transport aircraft and fighter jets, have actually taken off in the last six years.These long-pending projects, collectively worth over Rs 3.5 lakh crore, are either stuck or still meandering through different stages, without the final contracts to launch production being inked.

India's Helicopter Conundrum

Under the SP policy, the first project will be the Navy’s quest for 111 armed, twin-engine utility choppers at a cost of over Rs 21,000 crore. But just as four Indian firms (TATA, Adani, Mahindra Defence and Bharat Forge) and three foreign manufacturers (Airbus, Kamov and Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky) were recently shortlisted, defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics has sounded the alarm over it not being considered for the helicopter project. While the RFP will come out next year, the final contract will take at least three years to be inked.

A Long Wait Under SP Model

The Navy’s case for six new stealth diesel-electric submarines, which was first approved in November 2007 at a cost of over Rs 50,000 crore, is also nowhere near finalisation under the SP model.

4th Time Lucky?

India and Russia had inked the inter-governmental agreement to manufacture 200 Kamov-226T light-utility helicopters for over $1 billion in December 2015. But it is stuck in the technical evaluation stage over the “low level of indigenisation” being offered by Russia, say sources.This much-delayed project for the twin-engine light utility helicopters is considered crucial because India’s endeavour to buy 197 such choppers from abroad has been scrapped three times over the last decade due to corruption allegations and technical deviations.

Future Ready

FICV or Future Infantry Combat Vehicles. India needs about 2314 armoured vehicles worth Rs 60000 crore to replace aging BMP-2 fleet. The project seems stuck as there are disputes among the companies. The Ministry of Defence also moved the project from ‘Make-I’ to ‘Make-II’.

Stuck Behind Red Tape

Medium Transport Aircraft. The IAF needs 56 twin-turboprops to replace the old Avro aircraft fleet for Rs 11,929 crore. The IAF had sought new aircraft in June 2011. The RFP was issued to 8 aviation majors in May 2013. While the MoD cleared the TATA-Airbus project for C-295 aircraft in May 2015. It took a long time to conclude the price negotiations for the 56 C-295 aircraft because it was a single-vendor situation but the case will now go to the Cabinet Committee on Security for clearance.